KUCHING: Five bus companies – Bau Transport, Biaramas Express Bus, City Public Link Transport, Petra Jaya Transport and Sarawak Transport Company – have agreed to form a consortium to provide public transport in the city.
The buses would come under the name MyBas, and Kuching is one of seven cities in the country picked for this pilot project that comes under the Stage Bus Service Transformation (SBST) programme.
Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication Dato Sri Michael Manyin said the consortium had placed order for 140 OKU-friendly new buses as required by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).
“The consortium has agreed to SPAD’s requirements, which have been submitted to the federal Attorney General (AG) Chambers. Once the AG endorsed it, the agreement will be sent here to be signed,” Manyin told a press conference at the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) here yesterday.
Manyin said this in response to Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei’s statement published on Tuesday.
Wong had requested Manyin to reveal details of the proposed public bus system.
Manyin hoped the agreement could be signed by the middle of next month.
“It is hoped that this public bus transport system can be implemented in Kuching early next year.”
He explained that the buses would cover 26 routes – 14 trunk routes and 12 feeder routes with a total distance of 512.6km.
Compared to existing routes in the city, it represented an increase of 68 per cent, he said.
Manyin said these buses would be monitored by GPS, fitted with Electronic Ticketing Machine, and would have fixed frequency and punctuality.
However, he cautioned that the buses might not be able to meet the punctuality target due to traffic jams. On the number of people expected to use this proposed transport system, he said the estimate was between 50,000 and 75,000 in the next five years.
If this target was hit, it would mean about 10 to 15 per cent of the city’s population of 500,000.
On Wong’s proposal, Manyin said as a developing country, the government could not implement free public bus transport.
To his knowledge, no development countries provide free public bus transport for the people.
He said the government could not afford the RM145 million expenditure and RM48 million operation cost per year as worked out by Wong.