Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário has announced that the government plans to launch a public consultation in the first half of this year on building the “East” section of the Light Rail Transit (LRT).
The government first revealed in January 2018 that it would study the feasibility of building a sea-crossing LRT section connecting the peninsula’s Barrier Gate border checkpoint to the Taipa Ferry Terminal, via the land reclamation area known as Zone A – also known as the “East” section, which would be 7.8 kilometres long.
Rosário made the remarks while speaking to reporters on Friday at the Macau Science Centre (MSC) in Nape on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of a popular science exhibition jointly organised by the local government and the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST). Themed “Technological Innovation Makes Our Life Better”, the exhibition will run daily except Thursdays until February 28.
Rosário has indicated that the government plans to build the “East” section first before finally going ahead with the LRT peninsula section project.
LRT sea-crossing link
Rosário told reporters early last year that the planned LRT “East” section will not be built on the future fourth Macau-Taipa link – a vehicular bridge connecting the Zone A and Zone El reclamation areas – but will have its own sea-crossing link.
The government granted a consortium consisting of three construction companies a 5.27-billion- pataca contract for the design and construction of the fourth Macau- Taipa bridge late last year.
The government launched the feasibility study of the LRT “East” section project in late 2018, which will include a public consultation process.
When asked about the progress of the feasibility study of the “East” section project, Rosário noted that the government started the feasibility study in November 2018, adding that it had started to draft a public consultation document on the project before the term of the previous government ended last month.
Rosário, who was re-appointed last month, said that the government was still drafting the public consultation document and expected to launch a public consultation on the matter in the first half of this year.
Rosário said that the government will propose seven to eight stations for the LRT “East” section
project during the upcoming public consultation process, reaffirming that the government has not yet decided where the section should run, which, he said, would depend on the views to be collected during the upcoming public consultation.
Barra station ready in 2022/23
Rosário also reaffirmed that the LRT section connecting Taipa and Barra — via San Van Bridge — is slated to be completed in 2022 or 2023. The ongoing Taipa-Barra LRT section project, including the Barra station on the southernmost tip of the peninsula – is budgeted at 4.5 billion patacas. “Barra” is Portuguese for “harbour entrance”. The Chinese name of the station is Ma Kok – due to the nearby Ma Kok (A Ma) Temple.
The government still does not have a final plan for the LRT project on the peninsula.
Macau’s first LRT — the Taipa section — came into service on December 10. The government announced on December 30 that the trial run of the LRT Taipa section will be extended for another month until January 31. Passengers can continue to take free LRT rides during this additional one-month period, in the wake of the occurrence of three technical failures in less than three weeks since its operational start.
The LRT Taipa cost between 10.1 billion and 10.2 billion patacas.
The LRT service, which was initially slated to charge passengers from New Year’s Day, will now start to charge passengers from February 1.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Rosário also said on Friday that residents can buy a stored-value LRT card from January 22. He urged those using the LRT service to buy one in advance before the LRT starts to charge passenger to avoid long queues at ticket counters.
Meanwhile, the government-owned LRT operator has announced that since its operational start on December 10, the LRT Taipa section had over 820,000 passengers in the first month of its operation until January 9.
In a statement by the operator on Saturday, the LRT recorded the highest number of passengers a day on December 25, at 48,700.