KUCHING: Sarawak’s first electric bus has received an encouraging response from the public.

About 1,500 passengers boarded it during the first three days of its operation.

Henz Pasific managing director Henry Lai said the total number of passengers registered was beyond expectation.

Henz Pasific is the operator of the bus service, which is currently on a three-month trial operation.

“The feedback is very positive, very encouraging. The 1,500 passengers were during the first three days only from March 1,” he added when contacted today.

The bus which can accommodate 53 passengers (26 seated and 26 standing) is wheelchair-friendly. It makes 12 trips daily, starting from the Main Bazaar at 7am and ending at Khoo Hun Yeang Street (open air market) at 6pm with a one-hour interval for each trip.

The route covers a distance of 14 km, passing through Satok, Heritage Trail and iCom Square.

The bus is equipped with free Wi-Fi, a GPS tracking system app and closed circuit cameras for security measures.

To a complaint by some passengers on the absence of signs for the bus service at bus stops, Lai said they would put up the signs once they had received approval from the city council.

Asked to comment on the problems of double parking and indiscriminate parking by motorists which made it difficult for the bus to pass through certain spots along its route, Lai said the situation was improving.

“The worst affected spots are those near Kapit Hotel, the whole stretch of the narrow Padungan Road, at the corner from Jalan Deshon to Jalan Ban Hock and the junction after the Brooke Dockyard turning into the road heading towards Electra House,” he added.

Lai appealed to motorists who parked along the route to be more considerate by  ensuring that their vehicles did not obstruct the traffic flow.

On the possibility of additional electric buses in the city, Lai said despite the good response, it was still too premature to consider the move.