Hino Motors Sales (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Handal Indah Sdn Bhd to start a trial run of the HINO Poncho low-floor mini bus in Johor Bahru.
The seven-metre long HINO Poncho will start its one-month trial run on Route 10B in Johor Bahru, from 15 June – 12 July 2020. This route is currently serviced by Handal Indah, one of the largest bus providers in Johor and is more commonly known for its Causeway Link bus service. The 10B bus route covers JB City, Pelangi, Sentosa, Pandan, Taman Daya, and Taman Setia Indah.
In late 2019, Hino had provided the Poncho to RapidKL for trial runs in Petaling Jaya and Gombak.
Previous Collaboration Between Hino Malaysia and Handal Indah
Hino Malaysia had previously collaborated with Handal Indah in 2017 to conduct a trial with a HINO low floor 10.5 meter hybrid bus.
“We have been working together on our past collaboration to run the first hybrid bus in Malaysia supporting economical and clean public transport system. It was an obvious choice to work with Handal Indah again for this Poncho trial in Johor and we are glad that they are as excited as we are to run this,” said Atsushi Uchiyama, Managing Director of Hino Malaysia.
“Handal Indah is experienced and provides great insight on the public transportation needs here in Johor Bahru that is valuable in this trial”, he added.
Hino’s trial operation in Johor Bahru is timely as the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) is currently planning for the Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (IMBRT) project. The IMBRT project aims to upgrade the public transportation system in the Iskandar region in Johor. Its services comprise of three main lines running from Skudai, Tebrau and Iskandar Puteri to Johor Bahru city centre. This is further supported by direct and feeder routes, with a network of more than 1,200 km, covering 90% of the populated areas of Iskandar Malaysia.
IMBRT will consolidate some existing routes as well as open new routes to serve Johor better. The emphasis will be on better access to an extensive network, first and last mile connectivity, and sustainable green technology.
The Compact And Environmentally Friendly Poncho
Hino Malaysia sees the need in ‘first- and last-mile connectivity’ i.e. the first and last leg of a person’s travel within the city. A mini bus has its advantages in congested city or residential areas as well as areas with low ridership. As such, the HINO Poncho is presented as a solution to enable expansion of new routes that were previously not accessible due to the unavailability of low floor mini buses.
The Poncho’s small size enables it to easily manoeuvre the narrow city roads and quieter residential areas. Further, its low floor design makes it easier for senior citizens, children and wheelchair bound passengers. Designed with a height adjusting system, the Poncho’s height can be lowered by 50 mm, which will enhance accessibility. The bus chassis can also be lifted up to 30 mm higher to improve driveability on rough roads.
Its compact size makes the Poncho easier to manoeuvre busy and narrow roads compared to the current larger buses which are approximately 10 – 12 meters in length. Despite its small size, the Poncho can carry up to 31 passengers (including standing room).
In Japan, there are more than 2,000 HINO Ponchos plying the busy cities and narrow roads. It is designed to as an innovative community transport solution and as a solution to cater to the first and last-mile travel for passengers.
The Poncho is designed to be more fuel efficient and help improve operational costs. It is equipped with a 5.0L Euro V engine with a common-rail fuel injection system and 5-speed fully automatic transmission. The advanced Euro V diesel engine provides improved engine performance for acceleration, better fuel economy, and reduced harmful emissions.
Furthermore, the Euro V engine is fitted with a Diesel Particulate Reduction (DPR) system which is an after-treatment system that significantly reduces particulates. This feature differs to other current Euro V vehicles which require the addition of fluids such as AdBlue urea. Not needing to do this will eventually save on operating cost and maintenance time.
Using a mini bus like the Poncho will make for a more efficient public transport system. It takes up less space on congested roads, and is small enough in capacity to efficiently cover residential areas where first- and last-mile connectivity is crucial.