But only in the new year will the more directly benefiting populations (Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai) properly realise how the bridge will benefit them – that is, it will take some time to comprehend the real impact of the giant infrastructure since is not a bridge open to normal road traffic and that official licences are required to operate buses, taxis and rental cars. It is also known that free movement between cities will not be permitted on the bridge except between previously defined border posts; and even then, travellers will have to change transport.
“If you’re opting for budget travel but you don’t mind spending more time then obviously the bus would be a great solution,” said Shun Tak Holdings CEO Pansy Ho. “If you want to have a reasonable way to get there on time and not get caught in traffic then the ferry will be suitable.”
The bridge “suits conference attendees who require a connection from Hong Kong airport, although they will face problems such as the two immigration controls they need to pass, as well as a lack of porter service,” according to event consultancy DOC DMC.
To the question of what will the impact of the opening of the bridge be upon the economy of Macau, the answer at this point is that no-one can say for sure but it is expected to facilitate the entry of more tourists, arriving mainly from the Mainland.
As Pansy Ho puts it, now “everything is closer” and it will be possible to visit Macau on impulse “to have dinner and to return home the same night” – whether to Macau or other nearby cities.
But the Executive Director and CEO of SJM Holdings Ltd., Ambrose So Shu Fai, confided recently that there has not been any visible increase in visitation the gaming operator’s properties after the opening, as traffic flow is still constrained.