Gov’t says it cannot compel work with specific firms

The Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) explained last Friday the absence of the most common form of ‘tap- and-go’ payment in Macau on the Light Rapid Transit (LRT).

The Office stressed that “it was impossible for the government to require the system provider to collaborate with a specific e-payment company.”

The GIT did not specify why the requirement was impossible. The usual practice of service acquisition requires the government to open a public tender and obtain quotations from at least three service providers.

As for other reasons that the requirement was not included, the office explained because e-payment development is swift and it would come about sooner or later anyway.

Earlier, the office’s supervisor, Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário, said the absence of the option was due to technical weaknesses of the gates. Additionally, the requirement was not included in the purchase agreement made with the system’s manufacturer, Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industry.

On Friday however, the GIT somehow overturned its supervisor’s explanation. The office stated that the gates were fully compatible with tap-and-go payment. Mitsubishi has installed its tap-and-go system on the light rail network. In the future, riders can take the transport with Mitsubishi’s tap-and- go card.

Riders can also make trips with one-way LRT coins, which can be purchased at vending machines either with cash or with Macau Pass. Discounts, however, will only be available for trips made with the Mitsubishi card.

The GIT pointed out that the installation of other payment systems depends on system compatibility and business details, such as account clearance and handling charges. It considers it more appropriate for the LRT Company to conduct the negotiation.

The absence of a single payment method has also caused concerns as to how the government will encourage cross-modal transit in the future. Transit on bus trips was realized by the existence of a united payment method.

Meanwhile, local critic Ron Lam recently urged the government to verify if the LRT will be extended to Barra in 2023. He also questioned if the government was still intending to build the East Extension and the Peninsula Line of the mass transit system. AL

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