Calls for changes to Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge’s shuttle bus service as thousands of passengers kept waiting for hours
- Transport chief Frank Chan says he already conducted a review with the operator on how to provide more information and options for passengers
Transport minister Frank Chan Fan said he had spoken with the shuttle bus operator on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge about rearranging its services after thousands of passengers were kept waiting for hours at port facilities on Sunday evening.
Chan’s remarks on Monday came as tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing called on the authorities to review the service by allowing coaches to help ease the pressure in the next three to six months.
Figures from Hong Kong’s Immigration Department showed almost 78,000 people crossed the border at the bridge’s Hong Kong Port on Sunday, the highest daily figure since it opened to the public last Wednesday.
At about 7pm on Sunday, the Post observed more than 1,000 passengers queuing at shuttle bus stops at the boundary crossing facilities, many of them on package tours from mainland China.
About the same number were reportedly waiting at Macau’s border checkpoint. At the Zhuhai one, the crowd was thinner.
Some visitors said they had queued for more than two hours and still had not got on a bus.
Chan said 90 buses were provided from 6pm to 8pm on Sunday at the Hong Kong Port but demand was huge with 3,500 travellers an hour passing through at the peak.
“Passenger flows will be more concentrated in the hours when people go home, so travellers needed to wait longer,” Chan said.
“We already conducted reviews with the operator to see how to provide more information and options for passengers and on how to deploy vehicles in future arrangements especially for weekends.”
The government would release an extra 5,000 permits for private cars using the bridge starting next week, he added.
The operator had 120 buses in service, including 100 single-deckers providing 35 seats each.
The 24-hour shuttle bus service between port facilities of the three cities ran every five minutes during peak hours, every 10 to 15 minutes in the non-peak period and every 15 to 30 minutes overnight.
Each trip costs HK$65 during the day, and HK$70 at night.
Yiu said the government and shuttle operator had taken the matter lightly without foreseeing there would be more travellers trying the bridge during holidays.
He suggested the authorities should temporarily allow cross-border coaches to help absorb the passenger flows at the port facilities.
The coaches were operated by a joint venture of various companies run from various locations in Hong Kong, and a selection of destinations on the mainland, and in Macau.