The Transport Bureau (DSAT) said in a statement Monday that the government has renewed its service provider contracts with public bus operators Transmac and TCM for another 15 months effective from Wednesday.
The statement said that as the government has approved the merger of TCM and public bus operator New Era – which will take effect Wednesday, it only needed to renew its contracts with TCM and Transmac. The contracts for all the three public bus operators expire today.
The statement noted that the government needs more time to negotiate with the two remaining public bus operators (Transmac and TCM) about certain details in their future contracts, adding that it has therefore decided to renew the two companies’ contracts for a short time – just 15 months – before the new contracts can be finalised.
Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosario confirmed during a plenary session of the legislature in May that the government has approved the merger of TCM and New Era. Subsequently, TCM announced that its merger with New Era will take effect on August 1 and that the new company will operate under the TCM name.
During May’s plenum, Rosario told lawmakers that as Macau is a small place, merging bus operators was a “good thing”.
In June last year, the government renewed the service provider contract for New Era – which was then to expire on June 30, 2017 – for another 13 months, which extended New Era’s contract until July 31, 2018, the same date the service provider contracts for the other two public bus operators were slated to expire.
TCM has told reporters that the merger between the two companies will not affect their employees, adding that there won’t be any changes in the two companies’ routes. TCM has said that the merger proves the effectiveness of the synergetic principle that “one plus one is more than two”
TCM (Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos de Macau) started its business in the 1950s as a ferry operator. It did not enter the bus business until 1974.
New Era was founded in 2014, when it inherited the assets and operations of Reolian Public Transport Co., a local-French joint venture, after the latter’s bankruptcy.
The major shareholder of TCM is Nam Kwong (Group) Company Limited, a state-owned enterprise (SOE) based in Macau, which is also the major shareholder of New Era via TCM.
Transmac started in 1988 when it took over the assets and operations of its predecessor Companhia de Autocarros Fok Lei.
Macau’s public bus operators are paid by the government for providing a public service.