Gov’t to set up private, outside entity to operate LRT

Government representatives announced the commencement of a public consultation in order to establish laws relating to the city’s Light Rail Transit System (LRT), also revealing that the government would be setting up a private company to operate the city’s LRT when the Taipa section is completed in 2019. The information was shared at a press conference held yesterday.
The Assistant Coordinator of the Transport Infrastructure Office (GIT), Ng Keng Chung said that the private operator would replace the GIT in its oversight of current tasks, as well as being responsible for the future operations of the LRT. The private operator, according to Mr. Ng, will be set up under the public service granting system.
The GIT coordinator noted that it will be necessary to differentiate between the government itself and the operator, in regards to the management of the LRT’s operations, prior to the establishment of the company.
Admitting a lack of professionals in the sector in the city, Mr. Ng added that the government “hopes to invite specialists outside Macau that have related experience so as to provide advice and support.”
He noted that the establishment of the company is still at the initial stages, saying that further announcements will be made once concrete information is available.
Regarding the operation method, the government will take a leading role in making policies, while the assigned company will be in charge of daily operations.
“For the regulatory unit, the government will have a specific arrangement for that,” Mr. Ng told reporters. “More information will be released in the future.”
When asked the reason for setting up a private company instead of outsourcing to an experienced private company, Mr. Ng explained that an outside company might not be able to perform well enough, given that it is self-financed.
He added that the current drafted bill has “learnt from previous experiences, as well as taken into account other regions’ metro operations,” stressing that they are currently offering “framed suggestions”.
The 60 days of public consultation, initiated yesterday, are meant to collect suggestions regarding the contents of the bill’s articles.
The GIT Assistant Coordinator expressed confidence that the consultation, as well as the drafted bill, will be completed within this year.

Framed suggestions
GIT Senior technician, Cheang Im Ha introduced the proposed legal details for the LRT.
The drafted bill suggests that the operator of the LRT, a company fully funded by public coffers, will be responsible for all acts relating to the LRT itself, its infrastructure and equipment which causes damage or harm to passengers or to third parties.
As such, the suggested amount of compulsory insurance for handling civil liability is MOP200 million (US$25 million).
According to the information posted on the consultation website, the LRT fare system will be determined by the government, who notes that “it is necessary to take into account the benefits of the social and economic balance” as well as the consideration of fairness.