The government announced on Monday that an across-the-board increase in public bus fares will take effect on Saturday.
According to an announcement published in the Official Gazette (BO), all passengers paying with cash will have to pay six patacas per trip on all routes. The announcement was signed by Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On.
Passengers using Macau Pass will have to pay three patacas on regular routes and four patacas on express routes, according to the announcement.
According to the announcement, express routes refer to those with an “X” attached to the respective bus route number. Among the current 83 public bus routes in the city, 12 are express routes.
According to the Macau Post Daily, residents and non-locals – visitors and non-resident workers– will pay the same fares when using Macau Pass, in stark contrast to the government’s proposal controversially revealed in September last year, according to which non-locals were to pay four patacas for regular routes and five patacas for express routes – one pataca more than local residents for both routes.
Under the new bus fare scheme, pupils and students paying with MacauPass will have to pay 1.50 patacas for regular routes and two patacas for express routes.
Senior citizens aged 65 and above and the disabled holding MacauPass will be exempted from paying any bus fares, according to the announcement.
For senior citizens and the disabled, the new fare scheme announced on Monday also differs from the government’s proposal last year, according to which they were to pay 1.50 patacas on regular routes and two patacas on express routes during peak hours while their bus fares were to be free during the remainder of the day.
The current bus fare system came into force in late 2008 (with some adjustments made in 2011); according to which bus passengers pay a discounted rate when using MacauPass.
Under the current bus fare system, all passengers pay fares ranging from 2.80 patacas to 6.40 patacas – depending on the bus route they are on – when using cash, while they only pay from two to three patacas when using MacauPass.
Currently, pupils and students holding the Student MacauPass pay one patacas per trip on all routes, while senior citizens and the disabled holding MacauPass pay 30 avos (cents) on all routes.
During a press conference to brief the media on details of the government’s decision to increase the public bus fares, Transport Bureau (DSAT) Director Kelvin Lam Hin San said the government had decided to implement the same fares for local residents and non-locals when using MacauPass after considering different opinions raised in civil society.
Since the government made its initial proposal on the bus fare hike in late September last year, migrant worker groups and social activists had complained that the proposal would discriminate against imported labour – most of them low-income earners.
Lam said that the government had come to the conclusion that the implementation of the same fares both for local residents and non-locals was the best solution as it would be in the interest of the majority in civil society, adding that it would also be easier to implement such a scheme as it could also save administrative costs.