New traffic director vows contribution to local transport system

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Issue 343, Page 3
Word count: 449
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The new director of the Traffic Affairs Bureau (DSAT), Wong Wan, said yesterday one of his first tasks will be to liberalise the public transport market and create a more pedestrian friendly San Ma Lou.

After yesterday’s swearing-in ceremony he said a report of the public transport optimisation proposal will be released in June at the latest and measures such as and a pedestrian zone in the city centre will be launched in the first phase.

The bureau, which took over the transport-related works from the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) and public works departments, was officially established yesterday at the China Civil Plaza in Nape.

Director Wong Wan and his two deputies Tang Wai Lin and Chiang Ngoc Vai were sworn-in in the presence of Secretary for Transport and Public Works Lau Si Io.

Mr Wong said in his speech that Macau’s traffic problem, following the economic and social growth and the increase in vehicle numbers, had brought serious pressure to the road network.

“Therefore, developing a high quality and effective public transport network will be a foundation for improving the local traffic as a whole,” he added.

The direction of the DSAT will be to “develop quality public transport, emphasise research and planning, strengthen construction and enhance services and management”, the director said.

The public consultation on the government’s public transport optimisation plan finished last month.

Mr Wong said temporary contracts for bus companies, liberalisation of the bus services industry and a pedestrian zone in San Ma Lou had gained a general consensus and thus these projects could be implemented as a first priority.

By contrast, the proposal to introduce nine-seated buses has attracted a lot of criticism and more research is needed, Mr Wong added.

The director said the government was also supportive to one of the bus companies’ suggestion of introducing 18-metre buses to Macau, but was reluctant about restricting the number of vehicles on the roads.

“This type of bus is applicable on major roads such as Avenida da Amizade towards Taipa, but limiting the number of vehicles won’t help the transport need, instead we should encourage the public to take more bus rides,” he said.

Casino buses restriction

Asked if the DSAT would in the future control the number of casino buses running on the roads, Mr Wong said a more detailed study had to be carried as these “free-ride” bused contributed a lot to Macau’s tourism industry.

He added that, however, the government would consider restricting the picking-up and dropping-off locations and the traffic directions of casino coaches.

The bureau consists of 250 staff members, of which about 180 were transferred from the IACM and 70 from the public works departments.

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