Passenger numbers on Macao’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) system climbed to 3,550 a day on average last month, the highest since the Covid-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, according to figures cited in Macau Post Daily.
The government-owned LRT currently only operates on the 9.3-kilometre Taipa section, which includes Cotai. The section, which started operating last December, 2019, has 11 stations.
Passenger numbers fell drastically due to declining visitorship in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The system recorded an average daily ridership of 33,000 in December 2019 but just 16,000 in January 2020.
Before last month, the daily average number of LRT passengers had amounted to just around 2,000. Daily passenger numbers averaged 1,691 during the other 11 months in 2020.
The figures barely improved in 2021, when daily average ridership stood at 1,989, while it dropped to 1,850 last year.
The LRT system is owned by the government through its Macau Light Rapid Transit Corporation but its operation has been outsourced to Hong Kong’s MTR Railway Operations (Macao).
According to its contract with the Macao government, Hong Kong’s MTR is slated to operate the LRT Taipa section in five years from its operational start in December 2019, the Macau Post Daily reported.
In a reply to a written interpellation by lawmaker-cum-unionist Lei Chan U, the Transport Bureau stated earlier this month that Macau Light Rapid Transit Corporation has gradually been taking over more work operating the LRT system from MTR.