HZM Bridge bus rides for $80, once it opens

The bus ride across the HZM Bridge will cost just as little as HK$80 – but the bridge may not open until the second half of the year.

Shun Tak, the main HK-Macau ferry operator, is part of a consortium that has won the exclusive rights to run the bridge shuttle service, SCMP.com reports.

Managing director Pansy Ho, daughter of the gambling king Stanley Ho, told a results announcement this week the consortium include Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Land Transportation (Macau), Zhuhai Yuegong Xinhai Transportation Co., and Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau Bridge Shuttle Bus Services.

According to the Post:

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.

But the shuttle will be just one of many buses crossing the bridge.

Hong Kong bus operators, including Kwoon Chung, the owner of the New Lantao Bus Co., are tipping HK$170 million into cross-border services. They are planning to run luxury coaches with free Wi-Fi and smartphone charging.

Freeman Cheung Kim-ping, the secretary-general of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Boundary Crossing Bus Association, told the Post that many passengers will prefer services that go direct to the city centre.

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.

But the services may not start for some time.

The Asia Times reports that the preferred opening date is now July 1, the anniversary of founding of the SAR – but even that may be too ambitious.

An un-named official said the Hong Kong side needed to speed up road-surfacing work as well as complete construction of boundary crossing facilities, in order to meet the July 1 deadline.

Another report last week said the opening would be delayed past the current target date of May because of “serious” problems in the foundations of the artificial island in Tung Chung Bay.

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