TRANSIT takes note of this article commenting on plans to decentralize public transport in Kuching with a number of transport hubs.
By Desmond Davidson
KUCHING: The transport network here will be decentralised through a series of “suburb hubs” to be built in key residential areas.
Housing and Urban Development Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said it would cost the state government RM200 million in the next five years to improve the woeful transport system here.
An allocation for the project has been set aside under the 10th Malaysia Plan.
Abang Johari, who had travelled extensively, said areas that had been identified for such hubs were the MJC in the north-eastern suburb of Kuching, Matang in the western suburb, Muara Tebas in the east, and Jalan Song in the north.
The central hub of the network, to be known as Kuching Central, will be sited on an area near the Kuching International Airport.
He added that these hubs would have an “efficient service” to connect them to the city centre.
Giving the Matang hub as an example, he pointed out that the hub there would service a network covering the coastal areas from Damai in Santubong to Telaga Air, Matang.
He said the sub-hub in Telaga Air would have a network of its own to cover the area right up to Rambungan, while the Rambungan hub would have a network that covered all areas in the southern end of the state, including the resort towns of Lundu and Sematan.
“When I was given the Urban Development portfolio in December, it was obvious the city’s transport system was poor,” he said after opening Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s (Unimas) three-day engineering conference, “Encon 2010” here.
He said improving the transport system was now his focus and priority.
A developed transport system could spur the growth of new industries, especially the service-related industries, he added.
“With a good transport system, tourists can travel from one spot to another much faster, more conveniently and far cheaper.”
He said Kuching would serve as the test bed for any transport system that would be introduced in other major towns like Sibu, Miri and Bintulu.
“If the model put into place here is successful, then the same model will be used to improve the system in other major towns.”
We appreciate the efforts & dedication of Abang Jo towards improving the public transport system around Kuching and other parts of Sarawak in the future.
We want the system to be simple and informative and easy to access – which is why we support having a Local Public Transport Council that is responsible for planning, organizing and managing public transport services and communicating information about public transport to the public.
Our hope is that the “Hub & Spoke” system used in Kuching is more effective than the system that was introduced in the Klang Valley and in Penang – both of which eventually saw reduced numbers of hubs and more direct service – because governments were not interested in the complicated planning that is required to make the ‘hub & spoke’ system work.
And while we are happy to see that Abang Jo has not once mentioned “LRT”, we would like to know more about the plan for “Rapid Transit” connections (Kuching CAT?)between the hubs.
If there are no rapid transit connections between the hubs, the inconvenience of “transfer + wait” and the lack of information would drive many people away from public transport (as it happened in KL and Penang).