Ferry operator TurboJET said on Tuesday that it would up the frequency of its Hong Kong-Macau services, but not in time for the Labour Day holiday season encompassing May 1.
Despite the ending in early January of most pandemic-related travel restrictions affecting mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong; ferry services have been slow to build back up. Lack of labour has been cited as a factor, after almost three years of suspension of ferry services.
Alfred Ng Sio In, director of TurboJET’s Macau services division, said on Tuesday in comments to Macau media at a public event, that by mid-May, TurboJET sailings at certain times of day between Hong Kong and the two ferry terminals it serves in Macau, would be as frequent as “every 15 minutes”.
Currently, pre-midnight service intervals range from 30 minutes to 90 minutes, according to GGRAsia’s review of the online TurboJET timetable.
“By mid-May we should have an increased volume of ferry trips: by that time, there should be a trip available every 15 minutes for the sailings departing from Hong Kong to Taipa and… the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal [on Macau peninsula],” Mr Ng stated.
The TurboJET executive said his firm needed “more time” to up the night schedule, especially post midnight, due to what he termed human resource issues.
Currently, two ferry operators – TurboJET, a brand founded by former Macau gaming monopolist Stanley Ho Hung Sun, and run by Shun Tak – China Travel Ship Management Ltd; and Cotai Water Jet, run by Cotai Ferry Co Ltd on behalf of Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd – run Hong Kong-Macau-Hong Kong services.
Neither are currently carrying passengers after midnight. Presently the Hong Kong departures for both, are limited to the Sheung Wan ferry terminal on Hong Kong Island, according to the current sailing schedules of TurboJET and Cotai Water Jet.
For April, the daily average tally of Hong Kong-Macau-Hong Kong ferry sailings offered to the pubic would be circa 76, said on Tuesday Chu Chan Wai, a senior representative of Macau’s Marine and Water Bureau, at the same occasion Mr Ng spoke. Mr Chu said that the daily tally of offered services had risen to more than 90, during this year’s busy Easter, a public holiday season in Hong Kong and Macau.
Since services resumed in early January, until now, the average daily volume of passengers on the Hong Kong-Macau-Hong Kong route was between 13,000 and 14,000; about 40 percent of pre- Covid-19 level, stated the Marine and Water Bureau’s Mr Chu. The current average daily volume of sailings between the two cities amounted to only 30 percent of pre-pandemic trading level, the official added.
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