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LRT Taipa-Barra section to open by year-end: Rosário

2023-06-06 03:14     BY Tony Wong    Comment:0

Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário reaffirmed yesterday the government is confident that the Light Rail Transit (LRT) section connecting Taipa and Barra at the southernmost tip of the peninsula – via Sai Van Bridge, can come into service at the end of this year, as the ongoing train operation tests on the LRT Taipa-Barra section are being carried out “smoothly”.

Rosário made the remarks when replying to oral interpellations by several lawmakers during a plenary session in the legislature’s hemicycle.

Currently, the LRT only operates on the 9.3-kilometre-long Taipa section which includes Cotai. The Taipa-Cotai section, which started operating on December 10, 2019, has 11 stations.

The first LRT section that will connect Taipa and the peninsula will run from Ocean station, the western terminus of the LRT Taipa section, to the south-western tip of the peninsula near A-Ma Temple. LRT Ocean station is located near Ocean Gardens. The LRT Taipa-Barra section will run along the lower enclosed deck of the Macau-Taipa Sai Van Bridge.

The construction of the LRT station at Barra, which got off the ground in 2018, was completed in February this year.

Rosário noted during yesterday’s Q&A session that train operation tests on the LRT Taipa-Barra section started earlier this year, adding that the tests are being carried out “smoothly”, because of which, he said, the government was confident that the Taipa-Barra section could open at the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Rosário also underlined that the government aims for the LRT Seac Pai Van section and the Hengqin section to open by the end of next year. However, the policy secretary was quick to add that while the Seac Pai Van section “quite certainly” can come into service before the end of next year, the government was “a bit worried” about whether the Hengqin section could open by the end of next year.

The 1.6-kilometre-long Seac Pai Van section will connect the LRT Taipa section near the future Cotai hospital complex and the sprawling Seac Pai Van public housing estate in Coloane. According to the website of the Public Works Bureau (DSOP), the Seac Pai Van LRT project, which got off the ground in September 2021, is now scheduled to be completed in February next year.

The 2.2-kilometre-long Hengqin section will connect Macau’s Cotai and Zhuhai’s Hengqin Island. According to the DSOP website, the LRT Cotai-Hengqin section project, which got off the ground in March 2021, is now scheduled to be completed in November next year.

Rosário said yesterday that as the LRT Cotai-Hengqin section project was now only slated to be completed in November next year, it would not be easy for the government to ensure its operational start by the end of next year, but the government was still aiming for the objective.

Rosário also urged Macau’s civil society to “face the reality” that operating the LRT system is expensive.


MLM & MTR

The LRT system is owned by the local government through its Macau Light Rapid Transit Corporation Limited (MLM) but its operation has been outsourced to Hong Kong’s MTR Railway Operations (Macau) Company Limited.

The Macau government said earlier this year that MLM has gradually been taking over more and more work from MTR to operate the LRT system.

Rosário noted yesterday that the local government’s current agreement with MTR will expire at the end of next year, because of which the LRT Taipa-Barra section will still primarily be operated by MTR initially after it comes into service, with some of the operational work and services to be carried out by MLM.

Rosário also underlined that MLM has taken over the simpler operational work from MTR, adding that MLM will continue to take over more and more work from MTR, before it can be expected to carry out all the LRT system’s operations eventually.

Rosário said that the government was still studying the arrangements for the LRT operation after the expiration of the MTR agreement at the end of next year. 


A taxi drives past Light Rail Transit (LRT) Ocean station in Taipa in April. The new Taipa-Barra section, which is slated to open at the end of this year, will run between Ocean station, the western terminus of the Taipa section, and the peninsula’s south-western tip near A-Ma Temple. – Photo: Tony Wong


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