The H2 Sarawak Hydrogen Bus is a new bus service in Kuching, Sarawak which serves the downtown area of Kuching. While Kuching already has simple and potentially inefficient public transport in the form of stage buses, the H2 Sarawak Hydrogen Bus is a free service to test out this new technology. The H2 Sarawak Hydrogen Bus comes with the H2 Sarawak App to check the real-time location of the bus, and the timetable, though inaccurate, is integrated with Google Transit (and thus should not be followed).
Since 23 January 2020, the H2 Sarawak Hydrogen Bus launched the first Downtown Heritage Loop, transporting passengers from Riverside Majestic for a 14 kilometer loop around downtown Kuching.
The Downtown Heritage Loop bus as seen from across the road.
The Downtown Heritage Loop bus before Riverside Majestic bus stop.
The Downtown Heritage Loop bus at Riverside Majestic bus stop. The Downtown Heritage Loop bus can be differentiated from the Damai Route bus with no destination signs at the front of the bus.
The information of both Damai Route and Downtown Heritage Loop posted beside the bus entrance.
The timetable of the Downtown Heritage Loop posted beside the bus entrance.
The route of the Downtown Heritage Loop posted beside the bus entrance.
Shortly before departure time, the Downtown Heritage Loop bus moves up to the bus stop to board passengers.
The interior of the H2 Sarawak Hydrogen Bus.
The interior of the H2 Sarawak Hydrogen Bus as seen from the rear.
A LED information sign is available, but it only scrolls “SARAWAK HYDROGEN POWERED BUS” at all times.
There is a wheelchair space for a passenger in wheelchair.
Looping around Medan Pelita.
Turning back on to Jalan Main Bazaar.
Turning left at Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg.
Passing by the Kuching Old Courthouse and The Ranee Museum.
Passing by the Kuching General Post Office.
Passing by St Thomas’s Cathedral.
Passing by Padang Merdeka.
Passing by the Heroes’ Monument.
Heading on Jalan Satok.
Making a brief stop at a bus stop along Jalan Satok.
Crossing over the Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Bridge or New Satok Bridge.
Crossing over the Sarawak River.
There is a reinstated Satok Bridge for pedestrians beside the Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Bridge, however it has yet to be opened to pedestrians.
Passing over the looping point under Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Bridge.
Passing by Kubah Ria.
Turning into Kubah Ria.
Passing by Medan Niaga Satok or Satok Weekend Market.
Passing by Kubah Ria Commercial Complex.
Passing by the almost-completed (hopefully) Satok Bridge.
Passing under the Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Bridge.
The jam on Jln Matang-Merdeka Interchange to get back up to Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Bridge towards downtown Kuching.
The traffic jam on Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Bridge into downtown Kuching.
Crossing over the Sarawak River again.
With time to spare on a steady bus in a traffic jam, I walked around the bus to take some shots of the facilities available.
At the wheelchair bay, there are two fold-down seats for use when there is no passenger in wheelchair on board.
Priority seats are located on the lower end of the bus.
I assume this is the GPS transponder for the live location to feed to the H2 Sarawak app.
The QR code to scan to download the H2 Sarawak app.
Heading on to Jalan Kulas.
There is an extension bar to install fare collection equipment should the need arises.
A TV screen plays Sarawak tourism videos.
Heading into Malay Kampung.
Turning right on the top end on to Jalan Datuk Ajibah Abol.
Passing by Masjid Darul Ihsan Kampung Bandarshah.
Other kampungs in Malay Kampung.
Heading out of Malay Kampung on to Jalan Kulas.
Picking up a passenger from a bus stop with a removed shelter.
Passing by Chung Hua Middle School No.4.
Passing by the Kuching City Mosque.
Passing by the former Kuching Railway Terminus and maintenance depot of the Sarawak Government Railway across from Brooke Dockyard.
Tracks in the original alignment still remain on the dilapidated site.
The converging line heading into Brooke Dockyard.
The remnants of the Sarawak Government Railway which are more than 100 years old.
Passing by Brooke Dockyard & Engineering Works Corporation.
The Brooke Dockyard.
The railway line probably enters through this gate to the Brooke Dockyard.
The lane beside Brooke Dockyard & Engineering Works Corporation is called Lorong Dock.
Passing by the Kuching Open Air Market.
Passing by the Kuching Statuary.
The distances of various Sarawakian cities from this kilometer post, giving a rough gauge of how big Sarawak is.
Passing by the Pangkalan Panjang Jetty.
Passing by Masjid India Kuching, also known as Masjid Terapung Kuching or Kuching Floating Mosque.
Passing by the Astana on the other side of the Sarawak River.
Passing by Darul Hana Bridge.
Making a brief stop at Waterfront bus stop.
Passing by Bangunan Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak Baru on the other side of the Sarawak River.
Passing by the Square Tower.
Passing by Waterfront Chinese Museum bus stop.
A colourful photo spot for the word KUCHING on Kuching Waterfront.
Making a brief stop at Waterfront White Barouk bus stop.
Waterfront White Barouk bus stop is opposite Riverside Majestic bus stop.
Passing by Sarawak Plaza Shopping Complex.
Passing by the head office of Biaramas Express or better known nowadays as Bus Asia.
Heading on Jalan Padungan.
Heading on the Jalan Padungan roundabout.
Passing by the Ah Ma Hu Temple.
Making a brief stop at Central Timur bus stop.
Passing by Sri Srinivasagar Kaliamman Temple on Ban Hock Road.
Approaching back to Riverside Majestic.
The journey from Riverside Majestic, around Kuching, and back to Riverside Majestic, took 60 minutes, rather than the scheduled time of 90 minutes.
Disembarking from the bus from the rear door with a wheelchair ramp.
The Downtown Heritage Loop bus now rests for an hour before the next scheduled departure time.
Overall, a good free bus service for sightseeing around Kuching if you can catch the schedule, but no information is provided on the bus despite having LED information signs and a TV screen. However, it is not useful as a mode of public transport.
The Downtown Heritage Loop departure frequency is infrequent at a 120 minute headway, 6 times a day, which is ineffective for a short city loop, because it would have literally been faster to walk around the city than to wait for the bus. Furthermore, during my trip, the bus schedule as posted on the bus did not match up with the H2 Sarawak Facebook page and (then) website, causing me to actually waste 70 minutes of waiting time around Riverside Majestic as I planned to take the supposed 2pm departure, but was only informed by the driver that the next bus is indeed departing only at 3pm. If not for updating RailTravel Station, I would have totally skipped the H2 Sarawak Hydrogen Bus bus ride.
Despite having 3 buses, the Downtown Heritage Loop only operates with just 1 bus at a time, with another operating on the Damai Route on weekends and the third bus resting in the depot at Sarawak Energy Berhad chargEV Charging Station in Kuching Isthmus. If all 3 buses are running on the Downtown Heritage Loop only, the frequency might be able to increase to every 30 minutes which would be still inefficient, but slightly more reasonable to function as a hop-on hop-off bus.
As the H2 Sarawak Hydrogen Bus is just a trial with inefficient schedules and low ridership (probably due to inefficient schedules), I unfortunately don’t see how this trial might succeed with the high costs involved when compared to the number of passengers served. I think I can already foresee that the H2 Sarawak Hydrogen Bus would follow in the same footsteps as the quietly-terminated Kuching Metro electric bus trial, though I would be very glad to be proven wrong if more buses would be brought in after this trial for a proper city transport system.