The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is a notable work of engineering. Its political and symbolic meaning cannot be overstated. Many people have questioned, however, its economic sustainability.
Plausibly, other alternatives of connection between the two sides of the delta would have made more sense in terms of easing the human end goods flows in the region. But that was not the path taken. The irrecusable fact is that the bridge is there, and we will be well-advised to make the most of it.
Well, it certainly provides convenient access to Lantau, and in particular, to the HK international airport (the advantage is less clear cut in the case of Kowloon or Central).
That airport is now accessible from Macau throughout the day and night, at a noticeably cheaper cost. Surely, as long as one has not too many or big pieces of luggage (or children, or persons with mobility difficulties), the bus link beats the ferry hands down. The decline in ferry services is a testimony to that.
The missing service is, as anyone might conclude easily, the possibility of a direct link to the airport with check-in in Macau. One would not need to pull luggage around at each border crossing. And, the other way around, wouldn’t it be great to have luggage sent directly to Macau, when returning from abroad? That would be heaven – as far as flight connections are concerned, of course.
For that reason, the indication, several months ago, that the tourism department was trying to reach an agreement with the HK authorities along those lines could only be welcome. This week, there was news popping out that the connection to the airport had started operations. One could only rejoice. Unfortunately, the story seemed too good to be true, and it was.
Details are scarce, but apparently, one direct bus service is now operating to the airport. Direct is a way of saying. It happens one still has to cross the borders with the luggage, as usual. The price is more than double the combined price of the buses on both sides of the bridge, plus the shuttle. It is possibly too much if the only (dubious) privilege is to pick the same vehicle at each border crossing.
But let’s not lose hope. It cannot be such a complicated and lengthy process, can it? Well, the bus operator admits that the check-in service might happen in two or three years. We’re counting the days.