Bus services: Bumpy road to reach ‘basic goals’

Thursday, August 4, 2011
Issue 1375, Page 4
Word count: 497
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

With operator TCM also requested to offer temporary support to some of Reolian’s Cotai routes yesterday, director of the Transport Bureau (DSAT) Wong Wan said the city’s revamped bus services have now met “basic goals”.

Thanks to the backup from Transmac starting at 5pm on Tuesday, the service frequencies of No. 1, 3 and 3A operated by Reolian have been significantly boosted and the waiting time also reduced especially during rush hour, Wong said at a press conference.

However, he said No. MT1, MT2 (between Praça de Ferreira do Amaral and the Macau airport via Cotai) and No. 11 (Barra and Taipa) – also operated by Reolian – still reported insufficient service frequencies.

As a result the bureau has also requested support from TCM to help run the MT1 and MT2 routes from 4pm yesterday, while Reolian is carrying out internal arrangements to increase the services of route 11, Wong said.

With Transmac and TCM joining to help counterpart Reolian, the DSAT director said the service frequencies of all 60 bus routes have risen over 20 percent and have generally met goals.

Nevertheless, Wong explained that additional services provided by Transmac and TCM will not lead to an increase in government expenditure, since “the companies are paid according to the number of buses they send out to the street” and part of the money that was supposed to pay Reolian will now go to its two counterparts instead.

Under the new public bus system, the government will receive all bus fares and pay the three operators a total of MOP 4.7 billion over the course of the next seven years to run the 60 routes.

The DSAT chief stressed that the support to Reolian will last one month only as the newcomer continues its driver training and recruitment in the hope to put sufficient drivers on the road before September 1 when students commence school.

If Reolian is still unable to provide full services required by then, Wong said he believes it would be due to the company’s “own management problems”.

He said Reolian has been requested to submit a new operational plan within this week and also provide a date of when the manpower shortage issue is expected to be resolved.

When asked whether the government intends to import bus drivers in the future, the director said the DSAT isn’t responsible for the migrant worker policy, but reiterated that his bureau “still hopes that Macau’s public transportation can be operated by Macau people”.

On the other hand, the number of bus accidents dropped to three yesterday, which Wong said were all “minor” and involved TCM vehicles only. No injuries were reported.

The bureau also received 126 enquiries and offering of views and comments concerning the service frequencies, bus routes, interchange concessions, service quality and bus facilities.

Meanwhile, route 25X will add one more stop on the Cotai Strip near City of Dreams and the Venetian Parcels 5 and 6 starting today in response to the demand.

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