As already informed by the 2014 Portal, the surroundings of the Passenger Terminal of the Port of Salvador are not able to cope with the flow of tourists caused by the cruise ships that come to the city at this time of the year. The proof of this diagnosis was experienced by the drivers who this week have travelled along the avenues of the neighbourhood of Comércio, in front of the Port, in the heart of the capital of Bahia.
With the arrival of the ships during the high season, the traffic along Da França avenue is utterly confused. Last Wednesday morning, at about six o’clock, while two cruise ships were moored to the port, another two were approaching with an additional four thousand tourists. Along the main road, dozens of buses, minibuses, vans and taxis, in single file, were a gloomy omen of the traffic that would befall the city throughout the day.
During all the days of the Bahian summer, eager to transport the newly-arrived tourists and take them to see the wonders of Bahia’s capital, hundreds of motorists jockey for a position in front of the passenger terminal. These include taxi drivers and also the drivers of vans, all of whom fight for the groups of tourists who leave the terminal. “This is a complete mess, we have nowhere to park, and also we often lose the tourists to the clandestine cars who are operating without any kind of inspection”, complains taxi driver Jeovaldo Oliveira.
Rio de Janeiro resident Fernando Albuquerque was waiting outside the main arrival lobby, for a group of friends who would be coming on the next ship. He also complained about the poor local infrastructure. “The avenue is very narrow and has no parking lots. I have just come over to wait for a friend and I will have to stand close to the car, running the risk of being slapped with a fine.”
The Traffic and Transport Superintendence of the City of Salvador (Superintência de Trânsito e Transportes de Salvador - Transalvador) has been monitoring the situation. During peak hours, traffic wardens provide guidance to the drivers. “The big problem here is that there is just no space. Just imagine, it is still early in the morning and there are this many buses, so just imagine the situation in the rush hour, which will be the very moment in which this ship will be arriving at the port, then things will get worse and there is not much we can do”, says an inspector who prefers to remain anonymous.
Responsible for the urban mobility work that will get the city ready for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, Salvador City Hall has projects in place for the improvement of the traffic in the region, as the trend is that over the next three years the city will be receiving more and more ships.
According to Leonel Leal, the manager at the Municipal World Cup Office (Escritório Municipal da Copa do Mundo -Ecopa), some projects are already in place for this area. “The refurbishment of the Port of Salvador will include not only the construction of a passenger terminal, but also a restructuring of the surrounding area. The exit from the terminal will be moved so that the people may disembark closer to the Model Market. In addition, there are plans for the widening of the pavements, the movement of bus stops and parking areas, both for common passenger vehicles as also for tourist vans and buses”.
According to Mr Leal, the city hall has set up a work group together with technicians from the Docks Company of the State of Bahia (Companhia das Docas do Estado da Bahia -Codeba), the City Hall and also representatives from the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute (Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional - Iphan) to offer alternatives to the region. “We well know that anywhere in the world the arrival of 15 thousand tourists in one fell swoop can cause unforeseen situations. However, we are working so that these issues may be solved”.
The work on the passenger terminal at the Port is the responsibility of Codeba and all intervention in the surrounding areas are the responsibility of the City Hall, which is already working on the projects.