Monday, 19 June 2017

(The Star) Bus rapid transit being planned for Kota Kinabalu

KOTA KINABALU: The groundwork is being laid for major improvements in the city’s public transportation system, with a bus rapid transit (BRT) system on the drawing board.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the BRT was the best option for Kota Kinabalu instead of a light rail transit (LRT).

“An LRT service would be justifiable if there are tens of thousands of commuters to be transported daily. Kota Kinabalu does not have such a population base for now, so BRT is the way to go,” said Abdul Rahman who oversees the Economic Planning Unit (EPU).

He said the BRT was part of a master plan to improve Kota Kinabalu’s public transport system, which he described as “challenging” now.

“It has been said that someone using public transport travelling 15km from Inanam to Putatan here will take as long as two hours. Surely this can be improved,” he said at a breaking of fast with the press.

He said a proposal for a statewide railway service would be considered if it was found to be viable for transporting cargo and commuters between Sabah’s east and west coasts.

Currently, Sabah’s 134km railway service that dates back to 1900 operates from Kota Kinabalu to the southwest town Beaufort and on to Tenom in the interior.

Abdul Rahman said the EPU had approved the upgrading of the constantly congested stretch between the Indah Permai housing area and the Yayasan Sabah complex in Likas here.

The state government, he said, had also requested the road improvement and widening works be extended all the way to Tanjung Lipat near the downtown area.

Abdul Rahman said the Federal Government had also approved a RM500mil facilitation fund for the redevelopment of the city’s favourite recreational areas as part of the Tanjung Aru Eco Development project.

The project, spanning some 348ha, which would include the reclamation of 220ha of sea land, would be a game changer for Sabah, he said, adding that it would turn Tanjung Aru into one of the best tourism spots in the region.

The project includes transforming the historic 50-year-old Prince Philip park into a rainforest.

There will also be a 133ha golf retreat featuring a Greg Norman-designed golf course, seven hotels totalling 1,800 rooms as well as about 5,000 apartment and condominium units.

A feature of the redevelopment would be a canal fronting residential lots there.