A hydrogen bus tour of Kuching

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The Kuching Hydrogen Bus is a free bus service that serves two routes in Kuching and is operated by Sarawak Metro.

Announced in 2019, the bus service offers free bus rides around Kuching for locals and tourists.

Although I have been there for almost three years, I only managed to use the bus today and here is my experience.

Take the hydrogen bus from Kuching

Since I take the bus to check it out, I decided to look for the best pick up point.

I installed the H2 app to track the bus and saw that it was convenient for me to get on the bus at Merdeka Square because I could park my car there safely and use the bus.

I thought it was pretty awesome to be able to track the bus, as the arrival time at the next station was clearly mentioned in the app.

What’s nice here is that the “bus timetable stops” are up to date and let me know when the bus is approaching the next stop.

This allowed me to be alerted of the arrival of the bus and not to miss it.

Such tracking is good so I can spend less time waiting like I used to when using traditional buses.

Driving experience

Once on the bus it was obvious that the bus was well maintained. The bus was clean and the 16 seater bus moved along the route without too many problems.

As the front seats were reserved for disabled and elderly people, I moved to the back of the bus which was higher and I sat in the last row.

The interior of the bus. Photo: Cyril Dason

At 1.72m I couldn’t really see far as the last row of seats was quite high and my view was mostly blocked by the upper window panel.

I could see vehicles passing in front of the bus but if I wanted to see further I had to duck slightly.

I noticed there were a lot of bars and handles on the bus rather than seats, so I think this bus was more geared towards standing passengers.

Safety glass breaking equipment was also visible around the bus.

Inside, the hydrogen engine looked like a typical diesel engine. I guess hydrogen engines produce a noise similar to their Diesel brethren.

The trip along the Kuching downtown loop was quick as the bus barely stopped to pick up passengers.

This may have been because most of the bus stops were empty, but it made the bus feel like a tourist bus to be honest.

He slowed down near Sarawak General Hospital where there was a man sitting at the bus stop, but when he did not get up the bus continued on its journey.

There was free WIFI available on the bus and I could do some basic surfing on my trip.

Upon arriving at my destination, I couldn’t spot any bells indicating that I needed to get off, so I resorted to approaching the driver to let him know that I needed to get off at the next station.

I ended my first experience with Hydrogen Bus hoping that improvements could be made to improve the service.

Recommended improvements

I am quite in favor of using public transport and think Kuching hydrogen bus is a step forward for Kuching.

However, I think there needs to be improvements if it is to be the preferred choice of locals.

For the Hydrogen bus service, I hope the H2 app can be further improved, especially the map.

It would be even better if the application could be integrated with the GPS tracker of the Kuching Electric Bus service (which is another company) to ensure that passengers can transfer from one bus to another.

I also think there should be clearer signage for facilities provided on the bus such as bell and free WiFi.

Most importantly, bus stops should be clearly marked so users know where they can catch the bus. A good example is the way Grab decorates their waiting room, which is clear to everyone.

Conclusion

Overall, the Kuching hydrogen bus is promising.

I am made to understand that he is still on track and that others will be done to improve his services.

I hope these improvements will further improve public transport in Kuching and make it a preferred way to get around Kuching, if not Sarawak.

For more details about Kuching Hydrogen Bus, you can read This article.

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