The proposed light rail transit (LRT) system for Kuching and its surrounding areas will be developed in stages and integrated with other forms of public transport.
Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the full public transport system for Greater Kuching would be an integrated system with LRT as the core, complemented by bus rapid transit (BRT), taxis, private cars and designated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians.
“I am suggesting that the initial basic LRT structure should be from the Kuching International Airport to Kuching city, Kota Samarahan, Damai, Padawan and Serian.
“We can build the required real estate around these LRT stations based on the concept of transit-oriented density development.
“If we do not start building our LRT now, our land cost will increase in future and we may need more roads, more highways as well as more flyovers to be built which will cost us billions of ringgit,” he said in his winding-up speech at the state assembly yesterday.
Abang Johari assured the House that the public transport proposal was based on the advice of planners who had been working on it since early this year, as well as on studies done by experts from Hong Kong and Singapore.
He said the development of each mode of public transport, whether BRT or LRT, would be guided by demand and its suitability to serve the people’s needs.
He also said the LRT would be developed in stages to serve as triggers for the development and growth of Greater Kuching, which could have a population of over a million people by 2030.
“The strategic thinking now is to accelerate the expansion of Kuching city into Greater Kuching by first building the basic structure of the public transport system.
“Around the basic structure will be built the required capacity to accommodate the planned increase in population,” he added.
The Chief Minister said he would ensure all his initiatives were implemented, adding that his initiatives were meant to leapfrog the state’s economy into the digital frontier.
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