HONG KONG: The world's longest sea bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China opened to traffic Wednesday (Oct 24), with excited travellers making their first journeys along what has been described as a politically-driven and costly white elephant.
Passengers and tour groups gathered at Hong Kong's cross-border coach terminus and bus operators gave away Chinese pastries and roasted meat to passengers.
"I wanted to try this and see if it's convenient. I'll be checking out the view too, after all this is a historic engineering project," said Angie Cheng, 58, who was taking the second bus of the day out to Macau.
Only 10,000 licences have been granted to Hong Kong residents to drive private cars to Zhuhai if they meet highly selective criteria, including holding certain mainland government positions or making major contributions to charities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.
Most people will need to go by bus.
Travellers go through immigration and customs points at both ends of the bridge.
Chan did not say how many Hong Kong residents would travel the bridge Wednesday but estimated 30,000 mainland Chinese visitors would make the crossing into Hong Kong on the inaugural day.
The government had previously said the bridge would attract 29,000 vehicles daily by 2030.
Bus journeys to Zhuhai should take 45 minutes, down from four hours.
An early bus trip into Macau's Cotai casino hub took around an hour.
"The duration is similar to the ferry. I get a little dizzy on the ferry, so the bus ride was more comfortable," traveller Cheng told reporters after her journey to Macau.