LRT peninsula-Taipa link opens with enthusiastic crowd

2023-12-11 03:23
BY Tony Wong

Hundreds of residents and tourists, including public transport enthusiasts, were keen to take the first train of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system's first peninsula-Taipa connection, which departed on time at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, as seen by the long queues waiting to enter the new LRT Barra Station.

The first person in the queue told reporters that he arrived there at 9 p.m. on Thursday night.

An inauguration ceremony at Barra Station started at 6:10 a.m. where Ho Cheong Kei, who heads the government-owned LRT operator Macau Light Rapid Transit Corporation Limited (MLM), noted that the station’s operational start has now enabled the LRT service to connect the Macau peninsula with Taipa. Ho said he expected the city’s first sea-crossing railway line to make it easier for residents and tourists alike to travel around the city and encourage them to visit different communities and districts.

Ho and the other six MLM board members posed for photos with several of the first passengers in the queue before the ticket gates opened at 6:15 a.m., after which they handed out free souvenirs, crystal LRT carriage models, to passengers taking the first train.

The Macau Post Daily saw hundreds of passengers queuing outside the LRT Barra Station when arriving there shortly before 6 a.m. on Friday.

The first in the queue, a public transport enthusiast from Hong Kong surnamed Lam, said that he was happy to have been able to take the first train after queuing for over nine hours. The young man praised the “good” design of the LRT Barra-Taipa section, saying that its opening was a historic moment for Macau.

The second in the queue was a local man surnamed Leong, also a public transport aficionado. Leong, who arrived at Barra Station shortly after 9 p.m. on Thursday, told reporters that he was happy about the operational start of the LRT Barra-Taipa section.

A tourist from Guangzhou surnamed Yao, another public transport devotee, told reporters that he was around the 20th in the queue after arriving at Barra Station at 1:40 a.m. on Friday after entering Macau via the Barrier Gate checkpoint last Thursday night. He said that he was excited about having been able to take the first train from the peninsula to Taipa.

Before the new section connecting Taipa and the peninsula’s Barra opened on Friday, the LRT system only served Taipa and Cotai. The Taipa-Cotai section started operating on December 10, 2019.

“Barra” is Portuguese for “harbour entrance”. The Cantonese name of the LRT Barra Station is “Ma Kok” due to the nearby Ma Kok (A-Ma) Temple.

12.5 kilometres

The operational start of the Barra-Taipa section has raised the number of the city’s LRT stations from 11 to 12.

The new section connects the Barra Station at the peninsula’s south-western tip with the Ocean Station near the sprawling Ocean Gardens residential estate on the north-western Taipa waterfront via the Macau-Taipa Sai Van Bridge’s lower enclosed deck. Its operational start has raised the LRT system’s total length from 9.3 kilometres to 12.5 kilometres.

A one-way trip between Barra Station and Ocean Station takes around four minutes.

The new Barra-Ocean section that opened on Friday is now an extension of the LRT Taipa Line, which means that the Taipa Line, with the Taipa Ferry Terminal Station as its eastern terminus, now has its western terminus changed to Barra Station from Ocean Station.

Previously, a one-way trip on the Taipa Line took around 22 minutes, while now it takes around 27 minutes.

After bidding farewell to passengers taking the first train departing from Barra Station on the platform, Ho and the other six MLM board members also welcomed the passengers aboard the first train arriving at Barra Station from Taipa.

In the direction of Barra Station, the LRT operator arranged for the first train to depart from the Jockey Club Station in Taipa at 6:30 a.m. on Friday. 

Scores of locals and tourists queue on Friday early morning at the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Barra station to take the first train of the system’s first peninsula-Taipa connection. – Photo: Tony Wong

Macau Light Rapid Transit Corporation Limited (MLM) President Ho Cheong Kei (fifth from left) and other MLM board members pose for photos with several of the first passengers such as a Hong Kong man (third right) and a local man (first right).
– Photo: Tony Wong


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