Special Report – The future: Coloane and the ring?

The government has well-defined goals, but it also knows that the system, with its currently envisioned four lines, is incomplete. Sooner or later, it will eventually grow.

MB November 2021 Special Report | LRT, the unloved

According to Macau based-scholar Edmund Sheng, “The long-term plan for the development of the LRT must take into account the construction of circular lines, extending the LRT to the island of Coloane.”

Professor Sheng is the author of a fresh new report called “A Preliminary Analysis of the Macau Master Plan”, in which he argues that “the extension of the LRT to the island of Coloane could help promote, in certain respects, the balance between employment and qualification on the island of Coloane.”

The Professor of Political Economy and Public Policy, University of Macau, does not agree that the LRT “will deface Coloane. The LRT is compatible with the sustainable development strategy of Macau.”

First of all, he explains, “the LRT is eco-friendly, which means the rail system operates on 100% electricity with zero emissions and low pollution. Hence the green area and ecosystem in Coloane will be preserved to a large extent.”

Besides, continues Professor Sheng, “Coloane will become more accessible due to the reach of the transportation network. The new transportation route reduces the usage frequency of private vehicles for local residents who travel to the region, thus cutting down tailpipe gas emissions. As a result, the LRT program contributes to constructing a more robust environment in Coloane.”

Of course, “in the short term, construction may bring the associated costs of noise pollution and construction waste. Nevertheless, those issues can be effectively alleviated through the appropriate introduction of advanced construction technology to minimize the negative environmental impact. Taking the long view, the convenience brought by the new line will offset a few annoyances in the early stage,” he tells Macau Business.

This is not the first time the idea of taking the LRT to Coloane has been raised, but the idea is not part of the Government’s more immediate or even medium-term plans.

For some it is even an absurd idea: a few years ago, a Portuguese-language newspaper made the LRT in Coloane its “news” on April Fools…

Even so, sources familiar with the process assure Macau Businessthat an extension of the Seac Pai Van line to the village of Coloane is far more likely than any lines on the Peninsula (see the story earlier in this special report).

But the Government’s having closed the door on the matter doesn’t mean it’s gone out of everyone’s minds.

Earlier this year, lawmaker Lei Chan U defended the need to connect Barra to Praça de Ferreira do Amaral, supporting the idea with the need to mitigate the flow of people in the center of the Peninsula through an interface between buses and the LRT.

The legislator invoked an old project that includes a segment, mostly underground, running between the Sai Van and Nam Van lakes. According to Lei Chan U, the Government should consider moving forward with that segment and its connection to Praça de Ferreira do Amaral.

More recently, during a meeting of the Urban Planning Council, councilor Cheang Hong Kuong said the two-hour transit time from Barra to the Border Gate “is not an ideal situation” and therefore suggested two routes: one around the Peninsula and one around Cotai. In addition, for faster travel, the member also asked for a decrease in the number of stations.

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