LRT company to consider extending service hours during Chinese New Year

A community advisory body in Macau has suggested extending the operating hours of the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) during the upcoming Spring Festival in order to accommodate an anticipated increase in the number of users.

Earlier this week, the Islands District Community Service Consultative Council had a meeting with two representatives of the LRT company. According to the coordinators of the council, the LRT company is considering extending LRT service hours during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, with the LRT to also operate trains more frequently.

The LRT company will soon announce the final decision on the extension.

The LRT commenced operations on December 10. Services have been extended once before on December 31, to accommodate the celebratory events in Cotai on New Year’s Eve.

As of December 31, the light rail had served more than 600,000 passengers, equivalent to about 28,000 journeys on a daily basis.

In its meeting with LRT company representatives, the council discussed topics, including the speed of trains, as well as incidents that led to brief suspensions last month.

Three incidents on the LRT network were recorded, including, most recently, a temporary service suspension due to an electricity supply malfunction.

The LRT company did not provide any updates on the investigations into these incidents.

LRT representatives said that the network was still in a trial operation stage, during which analysts are reviewing the speed of the trains and collecting data about general operations. After it finishes collecting data, the company will adjust the speed of the LRT to ensure passengers have a more comfortable ride.

One council member, Ng Hong Kei, said that since the LRT is lacking convenience for most Macau residents, some members of the local community have nicknamed it the “sightseeing mini-train.”

The lack of information about LRT incidents has made Macau residents lose confidence in the transportation method, according to Ng.

Council member Liu Fengming then said that the electricity supply cut “certainly” made the public doubt the safety of the LRT, and that measures need to be taken to regain the residents’ confidence.

Earlier this week, the Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak said that the operating company behind the LRT service will be primarily responsible for releasing incident reports in future.

According to Wong, future LRT incidents involving the LRT facility only – provided they do not involve injuries, deaths, or large-scale chaos – will be reported by the LRT company. Incidents on the LRT in which the fire services authority participates will be reported by the fire services.

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