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Rosário doesn’t expect LRT passengers to return to pre-COVID-19 level ‘for some time’

2023-03-31 03:15     Comment:1

Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário acknowledged yesterday that for the foreseeable future, he does not expect the daily average number of Light Rail Transit (LRT) passengers to return to the around 30,000 when the LRT system came into service in December 2019, despite the fact that Macau’s tourism sector is recovering.

Rosário made the remarks while speaking to reporters after the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed president of the Macau Civil Aviation Authority (AACM), Pun Wa Kin, at the AACM office in Nape.

Currently, the LRT only operates on the 9.3-kilometre-long Taipa section which includes Cotai. The Taipa-Cotai section, which started operating on December 10, 2019, has 11 stations.

The LRT system recorded an average of 33,000 and 16,000 passengers daily in December 2019 and January 2020 respectively, when LRT rides were free.

Since February 2020, LRT passengers have had to pay for their rides.

Macau confirmed its first novel coronavirus case on January 22, 2020.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of LRT passengers fell drastically.

According to the website of Macau Light Rapid Transit Corporation Limited (MLM), the government-owned LRT operator, except in January 2020 when an average of 16,000 passengers daily was recorded, the LRT recorded an average daily number of passengers of just 1,691 during the other 11 months of 2020.

The LRT had an average of 1,989 passengers daily in 2021, while the figure dropped to a daily average of 1,850 last year.

With the post-COVID-19 recovery of Macau’s tourism sector, the LRT recorded an average of 3,550 and 4,750 passengers daily in January and last month.


6,000 to 7,000 passengers on Saturdays & Sundays

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Rosário said that over recent weeks the LRT recorded an average of around 4,000 passengers daily from Mondays to Fridays, while an average of 6,000 to 7,000 passengers daily was recorded on Saturdays and Sundays.

Rosário pointed out that before COVID-19 emerged in early 2020, the LRT had an average of around 30,000 passengers daily when it came into operation in December 2019, when LRT rides were also free.

Rosário acknowledged that he does not expect the daily average number of LRT passengers to return to the 30,000 level “for some time”.

With the LRT Taipa-Barra section scheduled to come into service at the end of this year, as well as the Seac Pai Van section and the Cotai-Hengqin section slated to start operating next year, the number of LRT passengers could be expected to gradually increase, the policy secretary said.


Expensive LRT operation, cheap tickets

Moreover, Rosário admitted that operating the LRT system is expensive, while LRT rides are cheap, because of which it is impossible for the LRT operator to cover its operational costs only with revenues generated by the price of the tickets.

Rosário said that the government expects the future operation of the LRT Taipa-Barra section, Seac Pai Van section and Cotai-Hengqin section to be able to reduce the losses. 

Rosário also said that advertisements have started to be displayed in some of the LRT stations, which could help increase the LRT operator’s revenues. 


Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário talks to reporters after the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed president of the Macau Civil Aviation Authority (AACM), Pun Wa Kin, at the AACM office in Nape yesterday.
– Photo courtesy of TDM


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