Sarawak’s first electric bus service is set to commence operations in Kuching next year, Utusan Borneo reports. The service will begin with a pilot project, initiated by local company Henz Pasific and its partner, Chinese manufacturer Zhejiang CRRC Electric Vehicle.

The initial deployment will involve a 14 km-long pilot route covering Satok, Heritage Trail and iCOM Square. According to Henz Pasific MD Henry Lai, the project is slated to begin early next year.

“The bus will start its journey at Main Bazaar from 7 am and will end at 6 pm at Khoo Hun Yeang Road (open air market),” he said, adding that the service will be free to all riders for the first three months.

Lai said with the CRCC city electric bus will have a seating capacity of 53 and is wheelchair-friendly, with space provisions for the latter. Aside from features such as free Wi-Fi, it will also be equipped with a GPS tracking system and closed circuit cameras for security measures.

The bus has an operating range of around 300 km on a full charge, and the charging station will be located at Jalan Depo. He said that following the initial deployment, more electric buses will be introduced into service in stages.

The move towards electrification is in line with the state government’s focus, which is to utilise clean energy for public transport. Earlier this year, it rejected a proposal by the federal government to run diesel buses for the state’s bus service transformation programme.