The Pearl River Delta’s mammoth bridge inaugurated by President Xi Jinping on Tuesday had a “smooth” start Wednesday, Macau’s transport chief said.
On the first day of the operation of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB) – which started at 9 a.m.– until 7 p.m Wednesday, 12,243 arrivals and departures were recorded at the Macau border checkpoint of the bridge, 10,258 between Macau and Hong Kong and 1,697 between Macau and Zhuhai, while the remaining 288 travelled to and from Hong Kong via vehicular lanes at the checkpoint, according to the Public Security Police (PSP).
The 288 people who travelled to and from Hong Kong via the checkpoint’s vehicular lanes drove Macau-registered cars to and from Hong Kong and Hong Kong-registered cars to and from Macau. Only cars which have been granted special permits, based on a regular quota initiative for cross-border cars from the two cities, can travel between the two special administrative regions via the delta bridge, which is open 24/7.
The Macau government Wednesdat organised a trip for media workers to gather news about how people used the Macau border checkpoint to travel to Hong Kong or Zhuhai – and vice versa, starting from the commencement of the operation at 9 a.m.
The man-made island for the Macau and Zhuhai landing points of the mega-bridge consists of the HZMB Macau Border Checkpoint Administrative Zone and the HZMB Zhuhai Border Checkpoint Administrative Zone.
In addition to travelling between Hong Kong and Macau and between Hong Kong and Zhuhai, people can also travel between Macau and Zhuhai via the Macau border checkpoint on the man-made island.
Customs clearance between Macau and Zhuhai is carried out on a “joint inspection and one-time release” principle. Under this new customs system, travellers are required to pass border controls only once – via either the automatic, semi-automatic, or manned channels depending on their identification documents – to complete their departure and arrival formalities.
After the media trip, Macau Transport Bureau (DSAT) Director Kelvin Lam Hin San told reporters yesterday morning that the operation of the 55-km-long bridge proved to be “smooth” in different aspects, such as customs clearance and transport arrangement.
Concerning public transport, passengers can choose the regular bus service between the Macau border checkpoint and the Hong Kong border checkpoint, and between the Zhuhai border checkpoint and the Hong Kong border checkpoint. They can also choose cross-border coach services between Macau and Hong Kong, from various locations in Macau to various locations in Hong Kong and vice versa.
The bridge bus service for the three checkpoints runs 24 hours every day.
According to previous media reports, there are about 640 bus trips per day for the bridge bus service, some 200 trips of which are between the Macau border checkpoint and the Hong Kong border checkpoint. The bus fare per trip is 65 patacas for day-time and 70 patacas for night-time (between midnight and 6 a.m.) trips.
Children and the elderly pay between 33 and 35 patacas per trip, depending on the time of the day. According to the operator, each trip takes about 40 minutes. Tickets can be bought online or from vending machines at the checkpoints
The two operators running cross-border coach services run a total of 50 round trips (totally 100 trips) per day between Macau and Hong Kong.
Operator One Bus Hong Kong Macau Limited runs 19 round trips (totally 38 trips) per day, while operator Hong Kong-Macau Express runs 31 round trips (totally 62 trips) per day.
One Bus Hong Kong Macau Limited runs its service between Hong Kong at apm shopping mall in Kwun Tong and Macau at Sands Macao in Nape, the Venetian and the Parisian in Cotai. The fare per trip is HK$170 for day-time and HK$190 for night-time trips.
Hong Kong-Macau Express runs between Hong Kong at Prince Edward in northern Kowloon and Elements shopping mall in West Kowloon, and Macau at various casino resorts. The fare per trip is HK$160 for day-time and HK$170 for night-time trips.
The cross-border coach trips take more than 100 minutes, according to previous media reports.
According to the local government, until 3 p.m. yesterday there were 4,742 passengers who took the HZMB bus service, while 833 passengers used the cross-border coach service.
The Hong Kong checkpoint of the delta bridge is near Hong Kong International Airport.
Ferry service rides between Macau and Hong Kong take about an hour.