KUCHING: The city’s hydrogen bus service will only resume after all the hydrogen fuel buses have undergone the full scheduled maintenance works, said Sarawak State Economic Development Corporation (SEDC Sarawak) chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Husain.
When the hydrogen bus service was temporarily suspended beginning March 18 to comply with the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO), he said that technicians from the China-based manufacturer, Foshan Feichi Automobile Co. Ltd, will do the maintenance works on the buses.
“Presently, the hydrogen buses are still grounded until technicians from the bus manufacturer, Foshan Feichi Automobile Manufacture Co. Ltd (Feichi) in China, are able to perform the necessary scheduled maintenance works and at the same time they (buses) are still under warranty,” he added in a statement today.
According to Abdul Aziz, the technicians who were scheduled to arrive in Kuching earlier this year in March, are still unable to enter Sarawak due to the existing travel restrictions imposed since the start of the MCO, which is part of the precautionary measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 virus.
Apart from providing the warranty support services, the bus manufacturer was also scheduled to complete the training schedule for local technicians in Kuching as part of their continuous obligations to SEDC and their technical support agreement.
“Unfortunately, those plans too have been put on hold due to travel restriction related to Covid-19. The reliability and safety of our passengers are of utmost priority and as such the bus service would only resume operations when every vehicle is proven to be fully roadworthy,” he said.
He also said that upon the resumption of service, the general public can continue to use the hydrogen fuel bus service free of charge.
Abdul Aziz also noted that the bus service had received encouraging response from city folks and foreign tourists who can travel through major areas within Kuching city and also to Pantai Damai, Santubong on weekends.
“Rest assured that we will resume our service so that locals and tourists alike will be able to enjoy this environmental-friendly and comfortable public transport once again,” he said.
Meanwhile Abdul Aziz also revealed that the manufacturer of the bus had collected data on all of city’s hydrogen buses performance during every journey taken in Kuching since the buses arrived in the city.
The data, which included information on the consumption of hydrogen, voltage and current perimeters as well as the drivers’ habits, are being monitored and reflected in the manufacturer’s database in China.
The bus service was officially launched by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg on January 21 this year.
Earlier on today, Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen had called on the state government to review the hydrogen bus project and to address the “real problem” — the lack of public transport.
Chong, who is Stampin MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, made the call after waiting for about half an hour for the hydrogen bus at a pick-up point here this morning.
“On normal days, the hydrogen bus is supposed to depart from the bus stop in front of Riverside Majestic at 9am. But we have waited here since 8.45am until 9.20am and there was no bus coming.
“In fact, I think the hydrogen buses have been grounded for whatever reason. I was informed that there was a technical problem with the buses,” he told reporters at the bus stop.