JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) is looking at Brisbane’s bus rapid transit model as an example for the development of the RM2.56bil Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (IMBRT) system.
Irda chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said based on the feasibility study, the Australian city’s BRT was the most suitable model to be implemented in Iskandar Malaysia.
“Brisbane shares many similar features with Johor Baru and Iskandar Malaysia in terms of distribution of population and urban development,” he said at a media briefing.
Ismail expects Iskandar Malaysia’s population to double to about three million by 2025 from 1.5 million when it was launched in late 2006.
“We must plan now so that we are ready to meet the challenges to our transportation needs as Iskandar Malaysia develops,” he added.
Ismail said Irda together with the relevant federal, state and local authorities and other stakeholders would initiate the IMBRT system to cater to the increase in transportation needs within the next seven years.
He said work on the IMBRT would start in the first quarter of 2019, with phase one of the project being completed by the middle of 2021.
“The entire network covers a 300 km route in the southern part of Johor, of which 50 km is made up of trunk roads and the remaining going for feeder services,” said Ismail.
He said the project would cover 90% of the country’s first economic growth corridor and among the areas covered include the Johor Baru central business district, Gelang Patah, Pasir Gudang, Kempas, Ulu Tiram and Kulai.
Ismail said the next 12 months would see the development planning of the project, the design of the stations, land acquisition, public engagements and related matters.
He said Irda would try to minimise land acquisition for the project by acquiring state-owned plots of land and those belonging to private companies and not individual land owners.
“The federal government has agreed to allocate RM1bil funding for the project and the remaining RM1.6bil will come from the private sector,” added Ismail.