JOHOR BARU: Work on the Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (IMBRT) is expected to start in the first quarter of next year and phase one of the project is slated for completion by mid-2021.

Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said the focus this year would be on development planning, land acquisitions, designs of the stations and public engagements.

He said Irda had organised eight engagement sessions since November to get feedback from the public on the project.

“More sessions will be held this year, including public display on the project, because at the end of the day, the public will be the IMBRT users,” Ismail said after a media briefing on the project’s latest updates at Irda corporate headquarters in Danga Bay.

He said Irda would try to minimise disruptions and inconvenience to motorists and pedestrians when work begins next year, especially in areas within Johor Baru central business district.

He added that Irda would also minimise land acquisitions and that most of the land affected by the project were either state-owned or belonged to private companies, not individual owners.

“We are looking at the BRT in Brisbane, Australia, as the city shares similar features with Johor Baru and Iskandar Malaysia in term of distribution of population,” said Ismail.

On the funding for the project, Ismail said the Federal Government had allocated RM1bil while RM1.6bil would come from the private sector.

IMBRT director Rudyanto Azhar said the project covered almost 90% of Iskandar Malaysia with over 300km routes, of which 50km were trunk routes and the remaining were feeder routes.

He said BRT was not something new as it was introduced in 1990.

Globally, 125 cities have implemented BRT, while 121 more are either in the construction or planning stages of the project.

“IMBRT is to cater to the transportation needs of the population in Iskandar Malaysia which is expected to reach three million in 2025, from 1.5 million when Iskandar Malaysia was established in 2006,” said Rudyanto.

Source: The Star Online