Macau Editorial | From public service to private cash cow

A small city like Macau will always face the difficulties inherent with a lack of space. The new landfills allowed by the central government are still not built and the city is already languishing, a victim of its own success and the growing attractiveness it arouses, especially among mainland tourists.
The lack of space could be countered with good policies and administrative practices, genius and hard work. Something that continues to be scarce, especially in the public service, where a job is seen as something for life, full of stewardship and little or no consequences in the event of mismanagement or damage that might harm the public interest.
The growing number of vehicles circulating in Macau should have triggered energetic actions to ease decongestion and lack of parking spaces a long time ago. However, not only has the government cut off hundreds of car parks, but it has also initiated a tariff update – after a change in the private company responsible for the parking meter monopoly. It is surreal, to say the least
It is true that parking meters were very cheap compared to what is practiced in other cities. But the update, in two stages, was from 8 to 80. From very cheap to expensive. But, worse than that, the changes were made to a system that seriously disrupts the daily lives of citizens. And, in some cases, with a rationality that attacks common sense and what is followed in other latitudes. The most striking case is to see office and commercial areas – where parking times should be shorter, allowing more vehicle rotation – with more time allowed, and residential areas that saw the parking time decrease from 5 to 2 hours and the cost escalate from one pataca per hour (a total of 5 patacas for five hours) to one pataca per 10 minutes.
The government is therefore advised to better study the areas of the city so that tariffs and discomfort take into account the need for greater mobility of vehicles and the fact that the administration is still unable to build public parking spaces that satisfy the growing demand.