112 casino shuttle buses cut due to pandemic

The number of casino shuttle buses in Macau has seen a drastic cut due to the Covid-19 pandemic; the figure in the third quarter of 2020 was 112 less than that of the previous year, according to data released by the Transport Bureau.

Before the pandemic, casino shuttle buses could be seen on nearly every street in Macau, which was a testament to the then booming casino industry. At the peak of the gaming boom back in 2015, there were 473 shuttle buses in Macau, carrying visitors to and from different border checkpoints and casinos every day. These shuttle buses were also one major cause of traffic congestion in Macau.

However, in the wake of falling visitor arrivals as a result of the pandemic, there were only 314 casino shuttle buses left as of the third quarter of 2020; the number of routes covered by these shuttle buses were cut from 53 to 20.

According to official figures, casino shuttle buses carried a total of 4.81 million passengers on 350,000 trips in the first quarter of 2020. In the second quarter of the same year, the operation of all shuttle buses was suspended as mainland China stopped all package tours to Macau and stopped issuing individual travel permits. In the third quarter, the mainland government resumed the issuance of individual travel permits. Nevertheless the number of Macau’s visitor arrivals failed to climb back to pre-pandemic levels; the total number of passengers carried by casino shuttle buses in the third quarter of 2020 stood at only 540,000.