HK investors pile money into Macau-bound bus fleet

    Investors from Hong Kong are closely watching developments in the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge, investing around HK$170 million (US$22 million) on a new fleet of buses aimed at carrying passengers to Asia’s gambling hub, SCMP reports.

    The new line of coaches will be run by operators including One Bus Hong Kong Macau and Kwoon Chung, which are set to provide daily services from Hong Kong to Macau.

    Currently, passengers wishing to travel between the two cities need to do so through Hong Kong-Macau ferry companies such as Turbojet and Cotai Water Jet.

    No expenses have been spared on the new bus fleet, with an estimated HK$5 million spent per vehicle.

    “We used the best materials and a sharp and dapper design for One Bus coaches, and we invested a lot of money in the fleet because we want to build a strong brand image for our company and offer a luxury experience for our customers,” investor Au Shui-hing, deputy chairman of the Hong Kong Macau Cross Border Association, said.

    However, strict rules from the Macau government, which set daily limits on bus services, as well as competition from shuttle bus operators have the new bus operators worried.

    “We really think there is a market for Hong Kong-Macau coach services, as many passengers don’t like travelling by ferry due to seasickness. With only 19 coaches, we can carve out only a tiny percentage of market share, actually less than 1 per cent,” said Chan Man-keung, chairman of the Association of Taxi Industry Development, an investor in One Bus.

    “The Macau government stipulates that one coach can provide only one round trip per day, but actually a coach could run for five or six round trips daily. We hope the Macau government will relax this restriction, otherwise we will be running big losses.”

    The Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau bridge is set to open in the second quarter of 2018. Once operations, the drive from Hong Kong to Zhuhai is set to be reduced from four hours to less than one hour.

    It is the first completed infrastructure project built and managed jointly by the governments of Guangdong province, Hong Kong and Macau.