Taxi licence tender descends into debacle

Special taxi licence bid­der Lai Ou Taxi Service Company Ltd. said it may appeal to Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On against the tender opening committee’s decision to accept the submission of Radio Taxi Macau Taxi Service Ltd. Opening Radio Taxi Macau’s bid submission yesterday, the tender opening committee of the Transport Bureau (DSAT) found the company had wrongly put its bidding prices in two different documents of the submission. However, as the quotations were the same the committee decided that the submission from the company should be valid. In fact, Radio Taxi Macau’s bid for the licence was originally rejected by DSAT due to its failure to comply with the bidding rules. Upon appeal, the company’s tender was accepted by the authorities at the beginning of this month. The decision of the committee triggered dissatisfaction from Lai Ou, which was the previous sole accepted bidder for the licence controlled by local businessman David Chow Kam Fai. The company’s representatives objected to the committee’s decision to rule Radio Taxi Macau’s submission valid, perceiving the committee had violated the bidding rules. However, the committee declined to accept Lai Ou’s objection and the company claimed it might file an administrative appeal to the Chief Executive over the issue. In January, the government invited bids to run the special taxi licence for an eight-year term. Under the licence, the winner can operate no more than 100 taxis that can be hailed by phone call, online order or mobile phone application in the territory before 2017. According to local broadcaster TDM Radio, Radio Taxi Macau is planning to invest around MOP70 million (US$8.75 million) to MOP80 million to develop the taxi service if it wins the bid, which is similar to Lai Ou’s expected investment of MOP70 million as recently disclosed by Mr. Chow.