Sad to say, at various times of the day, Macau is a transport nightmare for visitors and locals alike.
In the late afternoons when I drive past the Nam Wan taxi rank next to the BCM headquarters my heart sinks when I see the queues waiting for a taxi extending virtually the whole length of that block. Often either in the rain or in these searing summer temperatures, laden with shopping and suitcases and going to destinations that the public buses may not reach without a couple of changes … how on earth can we seriously be marketing ourselves to international visitors when we cant get our taxi system sorted? When it comes to getting around, especially between Macau city centre and Taipa/CoTai/Coloane and visa versa, Macau’s public transportation options are woefully inadequate.
For one short while some years back, Uber came to Macau. I’m a private car driver so it really doesn’t impact me, but it was clear that having the Uber service was a joy for visitors and for locals … the elderly and pregnant ladies trying to get around the city were especially grateful.
Its wonderful seeing visitor numbers going up and positively impacting our SME businesses, restaurants and retail. In July the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (MGTO) reports that over 10,000 business travelers arrived to attend conferences. They end up spending money in local neighbourhoods. The authorities continue to push for more international ‘high-quality’ events in the city in a bid to expand sources of tourists from abroad. International arrivals include businesspeople from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, China and India. Imagine these visitors’ surprise when they learn that Macau doesn’t have an Uber (or similar like Grab, Gojek or Dic-Dic) taxi service. All these countries have such a service, why not Macau? So these poor souls have to join the lengthy taxi queues.
Vested interests apart, why cant Macau get its act together and offer such a service? Even if its made substantially more expensive than the 700 registered taxi cabs operating today, say an additional 20% tax added … at least it would give our visitors the choice, rather than standing in the rain and waiting at times over an hour for transportation.