The government needs more time to study the arrangement of bus contracts in the city, according to Lei Cheng I, chairman of the Follow- up Committee for Land Affairs and Public Concessions of the Legislative Assembly (AL), following a meeting between the committee and government representatives, which included Raimundo Arrais do Rosário, Secretary for Transport and Public Works.
The government also needs to decide how to calculate the subsidies for bus companies, said Lei.
Lawmakers are concerned about the complexity of calculating the subsidies, including the fact that the government must consider the types of buses and travel distances.
Some lawmakers suggested that the government could subsidize bus companies according to the number of passengers. However, the suggestion was met with disagreement from government representatives, who were apprehensive about the possibility of bus companies being unwilling to operate unpopular routes if subsidies were calculated based on the number of passengers.
The short renewal of bus service contracts between the government and the two bus operators, Transmac and TCM, will expire on October 31. The two companies operate 84 routes in total.
According to Rosário, the government is still discussing the details of the contract with the two companies. Whether the contract will be renewed or whether there are other ways of managing the service remains to be decided.
Rosário declined to reveal further details at the current stage, indicating that the matter is not an easy one. He hopes that the public can give the government more time to study the matter.
On July 31, 2018, the bus service notarization contract signed by the Macau government and the three bus companies (Transmac, TCM, New Era) expired, and the government renewed the contract for a short period of 15 months. Following the renewal of the contract, a TCM and New Era merger was approved by the SAR government.