HK$80 from Hong Kong to Zhuhai on mega bridge – sole bus rights go to group including ‘gambling queen’ Pansy Ho’s firm
Company run by daughter of Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho part of consortium that wins contract to provide shuttle service across multibillion-dollar link
A transport firm run by the daughter of Macau casino kingpin Stanley Ho Hung-sun looks set to cash in when the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge opens, after a consortium which includes her company won the exclusive rights to run shuttle buses across the multibillion-dollar link.
Competition for transport business between the three cities is heating up ahead of the bridge’s opening later this year. The bridge shuttle service operator has reportedly set the fare at a drastically cheaper rate than competitors operating ferries or coaches on other routes.
It says it will charge HK$80 between Hong Kong and Zhuhai. A subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Shun Tak Holdings is a minor shareholder of the consortium.
Shun Tak already dominates the ferry market between Hong Kong and Macau with its TurboJET service, and is expected to gain the upper hand against rivals by securing the bridge bus contract.
The group’s executive chairman and managing director Pansy Ho Chiu-king, often referred to in southern China as the “gambling queen” owing to her father’s casino empire, disclosed the new service while announcing the group’s annual results this week.
“The company has participated in a consortium, via its subsidiary, which has succeeded in the tender,” she said.
The joint venture comprises Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Land Transportation (Macau) Corporation, Zhuhai Yuegong Xinhai Transportation Company, and Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau Bridge Shuttle Bus Services.
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Between 90 and 140 buses will run daily between the border checkpoints of the three cities. They will depart every five minutes at peak hours and every 10 to 15 minutes in non-peak hours. A night service will see buses leaving every 15 to 30 minutes. The HK$80 fare to Zhuhai is much lower than the HK$220 ferry and HK$130 coaches using other routes.
Freeman Cheung Kim-ping, secretary general of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Boundary Crossing Bus Association, said the price was reasonable, but he was confident other cross-border services could still cut a profit and maintain market share.
“The competition is indeed very intense but cross-border coaches will still enjoy some advantages. Coaches take passengers from downtown areas such as Mong Kok directly to Zhuhai and even farther up north, while those who take the shuttle buses will need to travel on their own to the border control points. Coaches will be more convenient,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Friday continued with a two-day study tour in Guangdong to learn about the “Greater Bay Area”, the Chinese government’s scheme to link major cities in the province into an integrated economic and business hub.
Lam, along with Hong Kong transport minister Frank Chan Fan and mainland affairs minister Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, visited the bridge’s landing point in Zhuhai and held a meeting with the mainland city’s party secretary, Guo Yonghang.
“It is a world-class project that has brought us closer together,” Lam told Guo. “I believe Zhuhai offers a lot of opportunities for Hong Kong people, especially the young ... I hope you can take care of Hong Kong’s young people ... and create opportunities for them to be employed or start their own business.”