New bus operation concession contracts already signed

The Macau SAR government today (Friday) signed a new six-year concession contract with bus operators Transportes Urbanos de Macau S.A.R.L. (Transmac) and Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos de Macau, S.A.R.L. (TCM).

The new concession contracts are expected to be published at the local Official Gazette until September 23 and will become effective on January 1, 2021.

In a session held yesterday, the Transport Bureau (DSAT) Director, Lam Hin San, revealed that under the new contract requirements, bus operators will have to provide 10 per cent of their annual profits to local authorities.

Local authorities will maintain financial support tot he operators, with MOP300 million (US$37.5 million) provided per year to cover fare subsidies for pupils, students, senior citizens and residents with disabilities, with the remaining financial support capped at MOP600 million every year for the first three years of the concession.

After this three year period the financial support will be evaluated, but with the DSAT underlining that it can only be reduced and not increased.

In previous years the Macau SAR an annual subsidy of MOP1 billion was granted to local bus operators.

In case operators are found to not provide the required services by contract, they can suffer cuts in their annual financial support of up to 45 per cent.

The new contracts also require bus operators to replace half of their fleet with environmentally friendly vehicles by 2022, and all of it by 2024, but with this policy only applies to buses that do not cross local bridges.

The size and weight of electric buses have been referred by local authorities as obstacles for introducing more vehicles moved by sustainable energy sources.

Still, the DSAT Director has underlined that by 2024, about 50 to 60 per cent of local buses will be environmentally friendly.