Compulsory inspections for eight-year old vehicles from next July

All vehicles eight years and older in the city will have to undergo compulsory yearly inspections from July 1, 2017, the director of Transport Bureau (DSAT), Kelvin Lam Hin San announced last Friday. Speaking to reporters last week following the closed-door meeting of the Traffic Affairs Consultative Committee, the DSAT director said the city’s new vehicle inspection centre in Cotai would be operational from the fourth quarter of this year. The government plans to tighten its regulations on vehicle inspections in 2017 in order to control the growth in the number of vehicles, on the condition that the new vehicle inspection centre is completed first. The Transport Bureau is aiming to keep the annual vehicle growth rate within four per cent, and hopes to keep growth rates for the next five years within 3.5 per cent. Currently, local vehicles only need to begin undergoing compulsory yearly inspections when they reach 10 years of age. The new tightened regulations will also mandate that all 50-cc scooters need to have yearly inspections once they are five years old. The Bureau expects that the new inspection centre will be able to examine at least 650 vehicles per day. New parking meters Meanwhile, the government is planning to replace the city’s 110,000 parking meters with new models accepting e-payments in the following two years. “We think that the current parking meters have been used for quite a long time. It’s time to update them in order to serve the citizens better,” Mr. Lam told reporters last Friday. According to the DSAT director, the new model of parking meters will be able to accept e-payments such as credit cards and Macau Pass, in addition to coins of MOP1 and MOP5. The replacement, starting in October, will proceed in phases over a 24-month period, with the first phase to take place in areas with busier traffic, the transport official said. In addition, the government is also planning to increase public parking fees. “Parking fees haven’t been changed since 1987, so we believe it is time for a change,” Mr. Lam said, without providing a concrete proposal on the change. The concession for studying the new model of parking meters has been granted to Macau Forehap Parking Management Ltd., which will also be responsible for replacing the old meters. Last year, Macau Forehap Parking Management Ltd. was involved in a contentious issue with DSAT after the department discovered the company had issued 390 unauthorised monthly parking passes in a parking lot where the government had not leased out any spaces for monthly rental, as reported by Business Daily. More buses please On the other hand, the DSAT director announced that 19 additional bus routes would be introduced in October. He added that the government would study which areas in the city will require buses with larger capacities, prior to increasing the current rate of bus frequency. According to the official, the number of daily bus passengers recorded a year-on-year increase of 3.2 per cent to 580,000 between May and June this year. “Last year, bus companies were able to carry 550,000 passengers daily. But thanks to the increased efforts, they can now handle 610,000 passengers every day,” he said. It was also announced that the government would attempt to introduce 18-metre-long buses next year, in order to carry more passengers and avoid overlapping bus services. Blocked Taipa roads In regards to the current road works in Taipa, the DSAT head said priority would be given to draining works, electric-cable installations and the clearance of driving lanes, adding that some of these works will be completed within next month. According to DSAT, current road works in Taipa are primarily located at Rotunda do Estádio, Rotunda Dr. Carlos A. Correa Pães D’Assumpção, Rotunda Ouvidor Arriaga, Estrada Almirante Magalhães Correia, Avenida dos Jogos da Ásia Oriental and Estrada de Pac On. “The works at the three major roundabouts in Taipa are proceeding in line with the schedule while other carry-over projects are also progressing well,” the Bureau told Business Daily. “It is expected that the works at the Rotunda do Estádio will be finished around the end of September and the beginning of October, while the first phase of the works at the Rotunda Dr. Carlos A. Correa Pães D’Assumpção will be finished by the end of November. Besides, some other works are to be finished successively by the end of the year,” it added.

Illegal Uber Meanwhile, the DSAT director reaffirmed that the operations of car-hailing application Uber violate local laws, despite the fact that the application obtained 20,000 signatures from local residents petitioning for it to stay in the local market. “We maintain our position that Uber is illegal,” he said. “We are working on modifying our taxi laws. We will propose the amendments for further discussion once we finish the drafts”. The official added that 350 additional taxis will arrive in the local market “very soon”, while he expected the city’s new special taxis providing on-call services will be able to serve around 100 people.