By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
An air-conditioned waiting area at the Border Gate bus terminal this October is expected to put an end to the discomfort of hot weather conditions that have plagued commuters and bus drivers for years.
The construction began last Saturday and will be carried out in two phases, each to take around two months.
Improvements include broadening the current waiting platform situated in the centre of the bus terminal by two metres on each side, as well as build a 570 square metre glass curtain wall to separate the air-conditioned waiting hall from the rest of the area.
The waiting hall will be of a rectangular shape and have 12 entrances/exits. It is expected to accommodate a maximum of 200 passengers simultaneously.
The Transport Bureau (DSAT) and the Infrastructure Development Office (GDI) inspected progress of the construction yesterday. The two departments are optimistic that the new facility will improve the comfort of passengers waiting for buses and also provide a better work environment for locals, tourists and drivers.
According to the chief of the transport management department of DSAT, Lou Ngai Wa, LED screens and a verbal announcement system will be installed for the convenience of passengers to notify bus arrival times.
DSAT and GDI completed improvements to ventilation and lighting over two phases in May, including the restoration of electricity and ventilation systems that were damaged by Typhoon Hagupit in 2008.
The DSAT said that according to June records, the differences in external and internal temperatures had already improved, with an average discrepancy of 3 degrees.
Lou stressed that the existing ventilation systems and fans used to disperse the hot air will continue to operate even after the air-conditioned waiting hall is up and running.
Meanwhile, the management company has been requested to arrange an additional eight personnel to guide passengers to the correct bus stops and maintain order at the terminal from 5am to 1am daily over the four-month construction period.