Following over 15 years of planning and construction and the initial stage of the Macau Light Rapid Transit (MLRT) system reportedly opened earlier today to give the casino-laden city its first ever passenger railway.

According to reports from Inside Asian Gaming and Macau News, this inaugural 5.7-mile section features eleven stations and runs from the Taipa Ferry Terminal to a stop located near The Macau Roosevelt Hotel. On its way, the subway-like MLRT purportedly snakes its way through the enclave’s Taipa and Cotai districts and directly past the giant City of Dreams Macau, Studio City Macau and The Parisian Macao integrated casino resorts.

Casino convenience:

Inside Asian Gaming reported that the MLRT is expected to be a boon for Macau’s many large casino resorts as it also passes close to the Wynn Palace Cotai, Galaxy Macau, MGM Cotai, The Venetian Macao and Sands Cotai Central developments with passenger trains departing every five to ten minutes.

Possible proliferation:

For its part, Macau News reported that the government for the former Portuguese enclave has spent approximately $1.3 billion on getting this first stage of the MLRT up and running. Officials purportedly hope to open a second phase by the end of 2023 that will connect the light rail advance to the mainland via the 1.4-mile Sai Van Bridge before someday constructing a 7.2-mile extension through central Macau and onto the Portas do Cerco border crossing.

Early encouragement:

Being run under a ten-year agreement by the government-owned Macao Light Rapid Transit Corporation Limited, the MLRT is reportedly promoting its launch by offering passengers the ability to travel for free until the end of the year. After this, users will purportedly be required to buy a ticket with fare amounts based on the overall distance to be covered.