The city’s first green fleet of 16 electric taxis, produced by BYD, was launched Tuesday at the outdoor car park of The Macau Roosevelt Hotel in Taipa.
Chinese automobile giant BYD, based in Shenzhen, is one of the world’s largest electric carmakers.
According to the company, its latest E6 model has a range of about 400 km and a battery that takes two hours to be fully charged at a quick charging station.
Ho Chan-leong, executive director of Synertec Management, said at the vehicle delivery ceremony in Macao that it is “just the beginning of our grand project”; they will introduce more BYD electric taxis to the special administrative region in future.
The first 16 electric taxis are BYD E6 models, which already run in several countries including Singapore, Thailand and Spain. The company said the E6 can travel as far as 400 kilometers on a single charge, enough for a taxi’s daily operation.
The Macau government is promoting electric vehicles to combat air and noise pollution, supplying charging stations and conducting electric-vehicle trial operations.
According to China Daily the fleet accounts for just 1 percent of the city’s 1,600 taxis but the Shenzhen-based vehicle maker is expanding to other aspects of the city’s transportation system.
Tourism companies in the city have ordered 20 e-buses from BYD, which is expected to deliver the vehicles this year.
Meanwhile the Transport Bureau (DSAT) will launch a tender for 100 black taxi licences valid for eight years, according to an executive order signed by Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On.
According to the bureau’s website, there were 1,492 black taxis in the city at the end of the third quarter last year.
The order published does not state when the bureau will launch the tender.
The order states that the 100 eight-year-term licences cannot be extended when they expire. The order also states that the vehicles’ registrations have to be cancelled when the licences expire.
In addition to the bids for the additional 100 black taxi licences, the government said late last year that it will launch bids this year for a company licence to operate a further 100 radio taxis.
The current radio taxi company – Macau Radio Taxi Corporation – came into service in April last year. The government signed an eightyear contract with the firm in September 2016 for the operation of 100 special radio taxis.
According to the bureau’s website, nine radio taxis were damaged by floods during Super Typhoon Hato in August last year – so that 91 special radio taxis are currently in operation.
Meanwhile, the government also announced that the owners of black taxis that were damaged by Hato can apply to extend their taxi licences for six months.
The announcement was made in another executive order signed by Chui, which was also published in the gazette.
According to the order, the owners can apply to extend their taxi licences if they plan to replace the damaged vehicle with a new one. They have to submit their applications by the end of this month at the latest.
According to the order, the measure covers 850 eight-year term black taxi licences whose bids were launched on several occasions starting in 2012 – if they were damaged by Hato.
Meanwhile, several readers have recently told The Macau Post Daily that a rising number of cabbies are not using their taxi meters and demanding a “fixed fare” of at least 100 patacas for even a short ride.