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HINO Poncho partners Causeway Link for an ultra-low floor minibus trial run in Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru, 15 June 2020 – A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Hino Motors Sales (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (Hino Malaysia) and Handal Indah Sdn Bhd (Handal Indah) to start a trial run of a low-floor mini bus in Johor Bahru.

Known as HINO Poncho, the low-floor 7-meter minibus will start its trial run within Johor Bahru area under the operation of Handal Indah Sdn Bhd also known as “Causeway Link” the smiling bus.

The trial run will cater of route JB City, Pelangi, Sentosa, Pandan, Taman Daya, and Taman Setia Indah for one month starting from 15 June to 12 July 2020.

Hino Malaysia and Handal Indah Trial In Johor Bahru

In 2017, Hino Malaysia collaborated with Handal Indah to conduct a trial on Hino’s low floor 10.5 meter hybrid bus model.

“We have been working together on our past collaboration to run the first hybrid bus in Malaysia supporting the 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 Hino Malaysia’s Managing Director, Atsushi Uchiyama.

“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 in good timing as Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) is currently planning for the Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (IMBRT) project.  IMBRT project aims to transform the public transportation here in Iskandar Malaysia with three main lines running from Skudai, Tebrau and Iskandar Puteri to Johor Bahru city centre as well as consolidating some existing routes and opening new routes to better serve the people of Johor in terms of its public transportation.

HINO Poncho is a solution to enable expansion of new routes that were not accessible earlier due to unavailability of low floor mini buses. Its small size enables it to easily manoeuvre through narrow city roads and quieter residential areas while its low floor design is wheelchair friendly.

Small-sized and environmentally friendly minibus

In Japan, there are more than 2,000 units of HINO Poncho manoeuvring within the busy cities and narrow road. It is designed to match the most innovative community transport solution and deemed as one of the solutions to cater to the first and last-mile travel for passengers.

Hino Malaysia sees the need in ‘first and last-mile connectivity’, meaning the first and last leg of a person’s travel within the city. The minibus has its advantages for narrow city residential and low ridership areas.

Its small size yet ample capacity makes HINO Poncho easier to manoeuvre through the busy city and narrow roads compared to the current buses now in operation which are approximately 10-12 meter length. HINO Poncho has excellent accessibility that features an ultra-low floor with the kneeling function that can be further lowered down. This feature aids senior citizen and disable passengers on wheelchair.

Besides being equipped with flexibility for the special needs passengers, the minibus is able to cater up to 31 including standing passengers. Designed with a vehicle height adjusting system, this system performs vehicle height lowering and raising control. The height can be lowered down by 50mm which will enhance the boarding or alighting property at bus stops and with the raising control, the chassis is able to lifted up to 30mm higher to improve driveability on rough road.

This trial unit Poncho is equipped with its five (5) liter Euro-V engine, common-rail fuel injection system and 5-speed fully automatic transmission, this minibus will help improve the operational cost as it is more fuel-efficient than current buses.

The Euro-V technologically-advanced diesel engine is to provide improved engine performance for acceleration, better fuel economy, and reduce harmful emissions, hence it is environmentally friendly. HINO Poncho with the Euro-V engine is equipped with Diesel Particulate Reduction (DPR) system; an after-treatment system that significantly reduces particulate matter. This feature differs to other current Euro-V vehicles where the HINO Poncho does not require any additional fluid such as AdBlue urea fluid, which eventually will save the operating cost and maintenance time for the customer.

The HINO Poncho trial run concludes and unites the objectives of providing efficient public transport system that best serves the people as this innovation will enhance the public transport services which aimed at eliminating the first and last mile barrier.


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