A Macau bus will provide daily service from three Sands China casino resorts in the gaming enclave to Hong Kong once the forthcoming Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau (HKZM) bridge opens.

Macau casino bus Hong Kong bridge

A casino bus will transport passengers from Sands properties in Macau to Hong Kong and vice versa once the new HKZM bridge opens. (Image: HKZM Authority/Cannix Yau/SCMP/Casino.org)

One Bus, as the casino charter service company is known, will transport riders from Sands Macau, Venetian, and Parisian, the two latter integrated resorts located on the Cotai Strip, across the 34-mile expanse. The point-to-point commute including all stops will take about two hours.

The company behind the operation says a combined 38 trips will be made each day.

Passenger pricing will vary depending on the time of the day, but will generally cost around $22 to $25.

Bridge Crossings Limited

The HKZM bridge provides a direct route across the Pearl River Delta, and cuts automobile travel time from four hours to 45 minutes between China’s gaming hub and the world’s fourth most densely populated region that’s home to 7.5 million people. With ongoing concerns including the US-China trade war and continued apprehensions over VIP play, and Macau casinos are eager with the prospect of more easily attracting Hong Kong residents.

September marked Macau’s slowest monthly gross gambling revenue growth since 2016, as casino win increased less than three percent.

The $20 billion bridge, however, isn’t open to all traffic. All six casino licensees have a fleet of busses that transport guests around town, but those vehicles are barred from traversing the HKZM overpass.

The bridge also bans passenger busses, with the exception of 34 issued permits that were awarded via a bidding process. Each vehicle is allowed to make one roundtrip per day.

The South China Morning Post says a group of Hong Kong investors are behind One Bus, and have invested $22 million into a fleet of 19 busses, the same number of permits the group received at auction. And it appears Sands China has reached an agreement for the charter company to run its trips from its three Macau casinos.

Delayed Opening

The HKZM bridge was supposed to open over the summer, but ongoing inspections have kept it closed. The world’s longest sea bridge cost the lives of at least 10 workers during construction, and injured hundreds of others.

Nine years in the making, the bridge will hold its grand opening ceremony on October 23, and Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to attend in Macau. However, he isn’t going to make the trip across to Hong Kong.

In April, aerial photos showed interlocking concrete blocks protecting several artificial islands built to support the bridge washing away. The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Authority said the islands were still in place and the barrier movement was expected, and only a powerful “once in 300 years” storm would jeopardize their integrity.

Veteran engineers not associated with the bridge told the South China Morning Post that the authority’s explanation was “unreasonable.”