Macau (MNA) – Ticket prices for the future Taipa LRT will probably be slightly higher than bus prices, the Co-ordinator of the Office for Transport Infrastructure (GIT), Ho Cheong Kei, said this Tuesday after a meeting with the Public Finance Follow-up Committee.
“The Taipa line is not very attractive to residents and we want to encourage more people to use public transports […]. The light rail will play a larger role when the line network is more mature, we need to choose the right price, and discuss the fare subsidy for the managing company,” Mr. Ho said.
With the Macau SAR Government having previously indicated that the public company responsible for the line would probably incur large losses, Mr. Ho said the government would study a financial support to provide the future state-owned company – similar to what is granted to bus companies – but could not precise an estimated amount for that support.
The GIT representative also maintained 2019 as the deadline for the conclusion of the Taipa LRT line but did not indicate when the government-owned company that will manage the line will be created.
The MSAR Government has signed a MOP5.88 billion (US$727.2 million) deal with MTR Corporation Ltd. to provide services for the operation and maintenance of the Taipa LRT for the first five years of operation.
“The Macau government will pay some HK$900 million per year to MTR, because the company will dispatch personnel to Macau, manage the LRT and we have to pay these services,” the chairman of the committee, Mak Soi Kun, said today.
With MTR recently plagued by improper work scandals, the legislator added that the committee inquired the government about what measures it will take to assure that the company – which was already awarded several LRT related works – manages the Taipa line properly or if its possible future restructuring will impact the LRT management.
The Hong Kong transport state-owned company was recently involved in a construction scandal, as the Hong Kong Highway Department asked police authorities to investigate possible faulty works conducted by the company at the HK$97.1 billion Hong Kong Sha Tin-Central project.
“We asked if there will be any sanction system put in place in case the company fails to fulfil its duties or goals. The government said that the contract with MTR already includes a key performance system to oversight their performance […]. It will be up to the Infrastructure Development Office [GDI] to supervise the MTR, with that role passing to the future company to be created,” the legislator said.
The GIT revealed today to the Public Finance Follow-up Committee that its most recent budget for the LRT system, excluding the Macau Peninsula line, is set at MOP16.4 billion, but the exact amount already has not been divulged.
Ho stated further that expenses related to compensations given to the companies involved in the LRT project for contract changes were not included in the budget.