Cotai gaming properties are getting easier to reach this week, thanks to the launch of a Macau light rapid transit (LRT) train line. The transit route comes as the region improves various transportation resources.
The 11-station Taipa route will stop near several gaming properties. Other stops on the 9.3-kilometer (almost 5.8 miles) route include the local stadium and international airport, according to the LRT website.
Run by Macao Light Rapid Transit Corp Ltd. – a subsidiary of MTR Corporation — service begins on Tuesday. The fare is free for the remainder of the month.
Later, passengers will have to pay to ride the cars, though the price range is so far unknown. Eventually, LRT service could also serve the Macau peninsula, according to GGRAsia.
As envisioned, the LRT route will operate between 6:30 am to 11:15 pm Mondays through Thursdays. For the rest of the week and on holidays, it will run between 6:30 am and 11:59 pm. Trains will stop every five to 10 minutes.
Taipa line stations include the following stops: Ocean, Jockey Club, Sports Ground, Pai Kok, Cotai West, Lotus Port, East Asian Games, Cotai East, HKUST, airport and Taipa Wharf.
The transit system is fully automated. It uses rubber tire transit cars.
Costs to build the line jumped from a 2007 projected $520 million to close to $1.3 billion, GGRAsia said. The project faced several delays, too, the report adds.
Seen as Economical, Efficient Way to Travel
The public transit initiative could benefit Macau’s many casinos, given that some players will find it an economic, efficient way to reach the gaming properties.
It is unclear if the number of overall visitors in Macau will increase with the local transit service. Or will it simply provide another option on how to travel in Cotai?
Macau already attracts many VIP high rollers. They typically board a flight to get to Macau.
Mass market players and non-gaming visitors to the region who are interested in entertainment, shopping and dining may also use the new LRT service. Local residents, including casino employees, are also among the likely passengers.
LRT has posted numerous available jobs in engineering and station operations online. These include workers to operate and control trains, support staff, engineers, and maintenance employees.
The Macau government awarded a 10-year franchise contract for the operation and maintenance of the light rail system with the company in September.
Airport, Bridge Construction Improves Macau Transportation
The LRT route comes as the region gets other transportation improvements. The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau (HKZM) $20 billion bridge opened in October 2018.
The bridge spans 34 miles. That distance makes it the sixth-longest bridge in the world.
A Macau bus provides daily service from three Sands China casino resorts in the gaming enclave. One Bus, as the casino charter service company is known, transports riders from the Sands Macau, Venetian and Parisian.
Work was scheduled for this year to expand the south terminal at the Macau airport. Officially known as the Passenger Terminal Building South Extension Design and Build Project, the more than 75,000-square-foot expansion will increase Macau International Airport total capacity to 10 million annual passengers.
Along with added departure gates, the three-level terminal project will include commercial and retail space, food and beverage, VIP area, and office space.