City council exploring autonomous rail option for Ipoh

Rumaizi says he believes an auto­nomous rail system is suitable to be built between the Old Town and New Town areas.

A STUDY is currently being conducted to see whether an Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART) system is more suited for Ipoh, instead of light rail transit (LRT).

Ipoh mayor Datuk Rumaizi Baharin said a private company was currently doing the study and had until next January to come up with a proposal.

“It is similar to what they have in Istanbul, Turkey, and Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Sarajevo has a population of about 450,000 people while Ipoh has about 720,000, so it is not an issue to have such a system,” he told reporters after attending Ipoh City Council’s Jalur Gemilang flying campaign.

“Sarajevo is a popular city among tourists and I believe that Ipoh can also be like that.

“The ART can cater to locals and tourists, both domestic and foreign,” he added.

When asked about the cost of the ART system, Rumaizi said it was being studied by the company.

“We hope that we can have such a service in the city.

“I believe it is suitable to be built in the city centre, between the Old Town and New Town areas,” he noted, saying that the city should aim to get its own ART system.

“It uses kinetic and electric energy, which can lower carbon footprint compared to vehicles using bio-fuel.

“It is part of our aim to be a low-carbon city,” he added.

ART is also known as a rail-less guided transport system, which is similar to the Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Johor.

Rumaizi was also asked whether the LRT system, which was included in the Ipoh City Local Plan Draft 2035 last year, would be too costly for the city council following concerns among some Ipoh residents.

He said the residents had misunderstood as the LRT was not a confirmed project but merely a plan that was being drafted, should the government or investors want to make it a reality.

“For example, if we want to build a new airport, we need to make plans for the things that need to be done, like reserving some land so that we don’t have to do land acquisition later.

“If we are to start looking for land only after a project is approved, it will be costly,” he said, adding that plans could always change.

Separately, Rumaizi said the Ipoh City Council had sent out notices to shopkeepers to fly the Jalur Gemilang in conjunction with the National Day celebration.

“We have put up the flags at our own premises and we encourage people to do the same,” he said.

When asked whether those who did not fly the flag would be issued a compound, the mayor said the city council’s enforcement unit could do so as it was a condition under its licensing by-law.

“We rarely issue the RM250 compound although we can do so.

“We advise and encourage the people to fly the flag,” he said.

“What is important is our spirit to celebrate Merdeka and the awareness about how we obtained our independence,” he added.

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