The government has granted Macau Radio Taxi Services Limited – the city’s current and only radio taxi company – a licence to operate another 200 special radio taxis, with the first 100 additional taxis slated to come into service in the fourth quarter of this year, the Transport Bureau (DSAT) said in a statement Tuesday.
The licence to operate the 200 special radio taxis will be valid for eight years, the statement said.
Macau Radio Taxi Services Limited, which is currently running 100 radio taxis, started its service in April 2017. The government signed an eight-year contract with the firm in September 2016 for the operation of 100 special radio taxis, after announcing earlier that month that the company won the bid – one of two accepted bids – for a licence to operate up to 100 special radio taxis.
The bureau launched a public tender in August last year for a company licence to operate another 200 special radio taxis. Five firms, including Macau Radio Taxi Services Limited, submitted their bids. The bureau unsealed the five bids – all of them accepted – in October last year.
The statement said that after the granting of an eight-year licence to operate 100 special radio taxis in 2016, the government decided to launch a public tender last year for an eight-year licence to operate another 200 special radio taxis, “in order to meet public demand for special taxi services”.
According to the statement, the calling fee proposed by the five bids ranged between zero and one pataca. All the five bids proposed that nothing would be charged for advanced booking and for no-show, according to the statement.
Macau Radio Taxi Services Limited charges a calling fee of five patacas under the current contract for the operation of the current 100 special radio taxis, while nothing is charged for an advanced booking and no-show.
According to the statement, the operator for the new 200 radio taxis is required to use hybrids or other environmentally-friendly vehicles with a capacity of at least six passengers for its cabs.
The current fleet run by Macau Radio Taxi Services Limited already consists of hybrid vehicles.
The bureau expects the first additional 100 taxis to come into service in the fourth quarter of this year, with the remaining 100 slated to come into service by the fourth quarter of next year, the statement said.
Five of the first additional 100 taxis must be vehicles providing easy access for wheelchair users, while 10 must be “big taxis” – larger than other vehicles in the fleet, according to the statement. It is understood that the larger taxis refer to those providing more space for luggage.
According to the bureau’s website, there were 1,498 common taxis in the third quarter of last year. Common taxis – as opposed to special radio taxis – are colloquially known as “black taxis” (“hak dik” in Cantonese).
Meanwhile, Macau Radio Taxi Services Limited General Manager Kevin U Kin Lung told government-owned broadcaster TDM that the new 200 radio taxis will be a different colour from that of the current 100 radio taxis, which are grey, as a way of distinguish them, as a calling fee of five patacas will still be charged when passengers use the current 100 taxis.
U also said that the success rate of calling a taxi of his company had risen to 40 percent now from initially just 15 percent when his company started its service about two years ago.(Macaunews)