More than 10 years after it was first announced, the long-awaited Macau Light Rapid Transit (MLRT) system will finally begin operations today.
Macao Light Rapid Transit Corporation, Limited (MLM) – the company handed a 10-year concession contract for the operation, exploration and maintenance of MLRT in September – announced last week that it would commence public services from this afternoon with the first passenger train scheduled to depart from Taipa Ferry Terminal Station at 3.33pm. All rides will be free until 31 December 2019.
The LRT is seen as a vital piece of infrastructure for Cotai’s IR operators given the lengthy distances between many of the area’s integrated resorts. The Taipa line, with trains running every 5 to 10 minutes from 06:30am to 11:15pm Monday to Thursday, and from 06:30am to 11:59pm on Friday to Sunday and public holidays, will initially boast 11 stops covering the central residential, old town and tourism areas in Taipa. It will also connect with the three major ports of sea, land and air in Macau, MLM said.
Notably for Macau’s concessionaires, the route will run directly by Wynn Palace, City of Dreams, MGM Cotai, Studio City, Sands China’s cluster of the Parisian, Sands Cotai Central and the Venetian, and finally Galaxy Macau before continuing on to Taipa.
Construction work on Macau’s LRT began in 2011 but the project was hampered by a series of delays and exploding costs. Originally budgeted at MOP$4.2 billion (US$521 million), the final construction cost of the Taipa line has almost tripled to around MOP$11 billion (US$1.36 billion).