Gov’t handed MOP1.06 bln in financial assistance to LRT in 2020

The Macau SAR government has provided MOP1.06 billion (US$132.6 million) in financial assistance to the public company responsible for the Light Rapid Transit line operations in 2020, or about 98 per cent of its total reported revenue for the year.

According to Macao Light Rapid Transit Corporation, Limited (MLM) financial report for last year, the operator reported a total of MOP1.08 billion in revenue and MOP1.03 billion in expenses for the year.

Of the total 1.08 billion reported in revenue, some MOP1.06 billion consisted of government assistance, of which only MOP2.9 million came from actual ticket sales from the 1.05 million passengers that used the service in 2020.

A total of MOP10.7 million were also generated from bank interest and MOP545,873 from asset transfer income.

As for the MOP1.03 billion in expenses, almost MOP932.5 million came from liquidating 12 contracts whose contractual position were transferred from the Macau SAR to MLM, and subsequent contract extensions.

Personnel expenses amounted to MOP56.6 million, with MLM employing 87 people by the end of 2020, including 53 workers on commission contracts and 34 newly employed workers. General operations expenses amounted to MOP14.9 million.

The Taipa LRT line started operations free of charge on December 10, 2019 with normal operations commencing on January 2020.

However, during the period between February 1 and December 31, 2020, due to the impact of the pandemic caused by the new type of coronavirus, the frequency of circulation of light meters was reduced, so revenues from the sale of tickets were also reduced.

The average number of passengers per day in 2021 has not surpassed 2,000, with the highest reported average in 2020 after the pandemic outbreak only 2,200.

‘After the light rail came into operation and its service was provided in a stable manner, this Company began to plan the appropriate development of commercial activities, with a view to generating other revenues than just those from ticket sales. The respective works started in the fourth quarter of 2020, it is expected that income can be generated in the first half of 2021,’ MLM’s administration council President Ho Cheong Kei said in a statement.

The LRT company indicate that since January 1 2020, it has implemented payment methods commonly used by citizens, such as Macau Pass cards and BoC Pay for ticket purchases.

‘In order to further improve the existing ticketing system, the Company began, in mid-2020, the analysis of this matter together with the commercial electronic collection institutions operating in Macau, with a view to, in the future, that the passengers can travel on the light rail using these electronic payment methods directly and make their correspondence with the public bus transport system,’ Ho added.