Kuching's new hydrogen bus service officially began its operations today, 22 January
In a report by Malay Mail, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg explained that since the service is currently undergoing a trial period, passengers will be offered free rides on two routes with stops near various attractions in the city.
The first route is the 14km Downtown Heritage Loop, which has stops at Kuching Waterfront, Central Timur Road, Ban Hock Road, Riverside Majestic Hotel, Kubah Ria, and the Malay Kampung Heritage Area-Kampung Bandarshah 2.
On the other hand, the 67km Damai Loop transports passengers from Riverside Majestic Hotel to Sarawak Museum, Satok, Petrajaya, and Damai Central.
The Chief Minister explained that the free service would help promote tourism
Both tourists and locals will be able to enjoy free rides while the state waits for guidance from the state Ministry of Transport on how to turn it into an established paying bus service, the Chief Minister told The Malaysian Insight.
According to The Borneo Post, the hydrogen bus service is a joint effort managed by the state Ministry of Transport and Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) to develop a reliable, affordable, safe, and eco-friendly public transportation system in Sarawak.
Currently, the service features three China-made 18-seater buses with standing room for another 16 passengers
The buses are zero-emission, thus making Kuching the first state in Malaysia, as well as in Southeast Asia, to operate the environmentally friendly vehicles.
Besides being sustainable, the zero-emission of hydrogen fuel cells also allow the vehicles to travel for a longer period compared to battery or electric vehicles, SEDC explained to The Malaysian Insight.
With a full tank of 20kg hydrogen, each of the buses can travel up to a distance of 300km.
Additionally, the buses feature LED monitors and even free high-speed WiFi for passengers to enjoy
On top of that, all three buses are equipped with the H2 Sarawak phone app, which was created and developed by Sarawakian Merlvin Ong.
According to Malay Mail, commuters who download the H2 Sarawak app, which is also integrated with Google Transit, will receive live locations of the buses as well as information on the nearest available public transport.
The H2 app also has iBeacon, an app that allows online and mobile push notifications on various offers and promotions in the city.
Android users can now download the hydrogen bus app on the Google Play Store, while it should be available soon in the Apple App Store for iOS users.