Bringing the truck park back

It’s a massive underground parking space for 240 heavy vehicles on Cotai, and it’s been sitting completely empty for three years while buses and trucks continue to park illegally on the roads, with no place to go. The government explains why to Business Daily reportage: The LRT works. They claim the venue will be handed back to the Transport Bureau by the first quarter of next year.

The only large-scale public car park designated for heavy automobiles in Cotai may return to service as soon as the first quarter of next year, Business Daily has been informed. Nevertheless, the re-opening of the car park may not solve the city’s transport industry problem of having to look for parking spaces every day.
In March 2013, the Transport Bureau (DSAT) halted the services of the public car park for heavy vehicles in Estrada Flor de Lotus of Cotai due to the foundation works of the viaduct for the Light Rail Transit System (LRT), which occupies certain spaces of the parking lot.
The underground area, occupying 30,728 square metres of two basement levels, could provide a total of 240 heavy-vehicle parking spaces. It had been open for five-years since October 2009, when it was closed for the LRT works due to safety concerns.
Questioned by Business Daily, the Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) said yesterday that the foundation works of the LRT viaduct in the area have already been completed.
“After the completion of the erection works by the end of this year, GIT will start the recovery works for the public car park. We expect that we could return the car park to [the Transport Bureau] for follow-ups during the first quarter of next year,” the Office told Business Daily in an e-mail.
The newspaper also contacted DSAT yesterday regarding its plan to reopen the car park for public use, and was informed that no timetable has been drafted for the reopening due to the fact that “the inner structure of the car park may have changed [as a result of the LRT works]”.
According to a site inspection conducted by Business Daily, the underground car park is currently serving as a warehouse for the construction materials of the onsite LRT works. Workers were also seen doing construction work at the site, in addition to the foundation piles of the LRT viaduct. Nevertheless, most of the space was vacant.
Previous dispatches from the Official Gazette show the cost of the design and the construction of this truck parking space amounted to MOP185.2 million (US$23.2 million), plus some MOP3.4 million in total payments to two bodies supervising the construction and the quality.

Too few parking spaces for heavy vehicles
Excluding this currently suspended car park, the city has only three public parking lots providing some 511 parking spaces for heavy vehicles. All are located on the Peninsula, including the car park under Tap Seac Square, Pak Kong car park in the Inner Harbour, as well as one at the Sewage Plant in the northern district.
In addition, following the closure of the Cotai underground heavy-vehicle parking lot, DSAT set up a temporary parking area for heavy vehicles in Rua de Ténis and Rua da Patinagem – as well as two other areas around Concordia Industrial Park in Coloane and in Avenida do Aeroporto.
DSAT told Business Daily yesterday that the total available parking spaces for heavy automobiles amounts to only some 900 at the present.
However, the number of available parking spaces for heavy vehicles, even including the soon-to-be-reopened Cotai parking lot, is still far too few, considering the surging numbers of trucks and coach buses in the territory.
According to official data from the Statics and Census Service (DSEC), the total number of heavy automobiles totalled 7,642 as at the end of 2015, which represents a year-on-year increase of 6 per cent compared to 7,210 in 2014. This annual growth rate is higher than the 4 per cent figure recorded for both 2013 and 2014.
In particular, of the total number of licensed heavy vehicles in 2015, 2,337 or 30.5 per cent were trucks, a jump of 11.2 per cent year-on-year from 2,101 in 2014. In addition, the number of passenger cars registered a year-on-year increase of 4.7 per cent year-on-year, to 3,634 as at the end of 2015.
“Most of the land on the Peninsula has been developed, so the areas that could be used for parking areas for trucks and coach buses are limited. But the government is actively working on new projects to provide a certain number of new parking spaces for buses and coach buses, such as the Public Transport Interchange in Barra,” the Transport Bureau noted in yesterday’s e-mail reply.

Chamber: gov’t lacks planning for heavy vehicles
Nevertheless, the vice director of local transport-industry chamber Associação dos Comerciantes e Operários de Automóveis de Macau, Leng Sai Vai, believes that the serious lack of parking spaces for heavy-vehicles shows the government’s lack of planning for the transport industry.
“The difficulty of parking occurs across the whole Macau. But we should note that the issue for light vehicles can still be resolved privately – such as by buying or renting private parking spaces. However, heavy vehicle owners or drivers are limited as they cannot park in normal car parks, while parking spaces provided by the government are totally not enough,” Mr. Leng told Business Daily in a phone interview.
“How can the government grant new licenses for new heavy automobiles but without thinking about whether the city has enough parking spaces to keep these vehicles,” the association deputy head queried, indicating the industry needs to park their trucks or coach buses illegally, even though they know they will be fined most of the time.
Mr. Leng added that the industry used to consider legal parking spaces in Cotai and Coloane too far way, but they would be fine with anywhere at the present due to the serious lack of spaces anywhere else.
“We hope Hengqin will allow Macau-plate vehicles to enter its territory as soon as possible. This may be the final alternative for resolving the city’s lack of parking spaces for heavy automobiles,” he suggested.