Transport | Border gate bus terminal to resume operations in 2019

Lo Seng Chi (left), Lam Hin San, Chau Vai Man and Luís Madeira de Carvalho

 The underground border gate bus terminal will  be partially reopened in  the second quarter of 2019, the Transport Bureau (DSAT) and the Infrastructure Development Office (GDI) announced yesterday during a press conference.

Before the reopening, the public departments will carry out renovation works at the terminal, which has been badly affected by Typhoon Hato.

Prior to the typhoon, the GDI had completed a new design for the bus terminal renovation. However, after the assessment of the damage, it has been decided that the design plans for the terminal need to be changed. 

The first phase of the construction will be carried out in the fourth quarter of 2017, which mainly includes repair works of the facilities that were damaged during Typhoon Hato.

The main construction will start in the third quarter of 2018.

According to Luís Madeira de Carvalho, chief of the architecture division of GDI, the initial repair works at the terminal involve electricity supplies, lighting and fire control systems.

Currently, there are eight ventilated lighting wells located on the ground floor of the border gate plaza. 

When these repair works are completed, the construction will focus on the expansion of the lighting wells on the ground, and then the renovation of the parterre and pools on the plaza.

Lastly, the authority will dismantle part of the facilities located in the basement. 

As introduced by Madeira de Carvalho, the construction project involves seven main parts of renovation, including removing the electricity facilities to the ground, increasing the number of waiting lounges, changing the smoke extraction and ventilation systems, changing the bus and pedestrian lines, replacing the lighting system and using environmentally friendly LED lights, as well as renovating the bathrooms, drivers’ restroom, walls and the ceiling decorations.

The terminal is  expected to be fully reopened in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The total cost of the project has not been disclosed as the authority is preparing to announce it after opening public tenders for the project.

Originally, there were 24 buses stopping at the terminal. That corresponds to more than 3,000 vehicles every day.

Post Typhoon Hato, all of the 24 buses were redirected to 10 different stations near the border gate bus terminal.

It will take somewhere around two years until the border bus terminal is eventually restored.

Chau Vai Man, GDI director, noted that the new design will result in the terminal being opened earlier than if the previous one had been used.

“The original design would imply two years just for the main construction,” said Chau, adding that the new design will instead allow 14 months for the main construction.

DSAT’s director Lam Hin San was asked whether the transport authority was prioritizing the gaming operators’ interests over the convenience for residents, as the redirected buses were not arranged to use the parking lots at the areas where the casino shuttle buses are currently being parked.

“I don’t quite agree with you. We put the public’s interest first,” said Lam, adding that the bureau has already said that the tourist bus’ parking areas do not suit the public transport buses.

Earlier, Lam said that the parking lots in the tourist bus parking areas are poorly designed, which would unduly lengthen the time required for buses to park and therefore would have a significant impact on bus operations.

The Border Gate bus terminal occupies an area of 13,000 square meters.

On average, the bus routes to the Border Gate bus terminal or the Border Gate Plaza take nearly 300,000 passengers on a daily basis, representing 40 percent of total daily patronage.

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