HZM Bridge quota over-subscribed, looks set to rise again

Vehicle permits for the new HK-Macau bridge are already over-subscribed and the low quota seems almost certain to be raised again.

The Guangdong and Hong Kong governments set the current quota of 10,000 private vehicles at the end of last year, up from the original number of 3000 agreed on just four months earlier.

The Guangdong Public Security Bureau Traffic Administration has revealed that up to February 22 it had issued had 11,121 permits.

Demand has been so high that touts are reportedly offering them for as much as 400,000 to 600,000 yuan.

Inevitably, the two governments are once again in discussions to lift the quota, Sing Tao reports.

They have also talked about cracking down on speculation, but the low quota seems guaranteed to create a black market.

For whatever reason, and in contrast to the official enthusiasm for the Greater Bay Area, the two governments have made the permits extremely difficult to obtain.

The 10,000 quota on private vehicles contrasts with the forecast 14,000 vehicles expected to cross the bridge each day, of which roughly half are expected to be private.

The three governments, and Hong Kong in particular, need bridge traffic to recoup the bridge’s astronomical cost. They will levy a 150 yuan (HK$177) toll.

Up to now, permits have been be issued only to Hong Kong businesses deemed to be ‘hi-tech,’ or have paid more than 100,000 yuan tax in Guangdong in the past three years.

Residents who have donated more than 5 million yuan to nominated Guangdong charities, or are members of the Guangdong NPC or NPPCC, are also eligible.

But Sing Tao reports that the governments are considering lowering the threshold as well as raising the quota.

Among other things they may cut the tax requirements and open up to a wider range of businesses and other organisations.

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