A couple of years ago it would have been inconceivable to think that visitors to Macau would have to pay for a shuttle ride from the ferry terminal to any one of Macau’s casinos. Casinos were happy to invest in free shuttle rides that transported thousands of visitors on a regular basis.

The slump in Macau’s casino industry caused by the anti-corruption crackdown coupled with the fact that the Macau government continues to restrict the freedom of Macau’s casinos have meant that casinos have been forced to change some of their usual policies. Macau’s authorities recently addressed traffic congestion and pollution in the city and have asked all casino operators to look at ways to reduce the number of shuttle buses and trips they operate on a daily basis and reduce the overall trips by twenty percent.

The casinos complied with those instructions by eliminating eleven casino shuttle bus routes and optimizing an additional ten routes to hit the overall twenty percent reduction that the government wanted. The reduction in shuttle buses has forced casino operators to be more selective of who they allow on board.

In the past, Macau shuttle buses were provided free of cost to anyone who wanted to get on board irrespective of whether they were visiting a casino or staying at a casino hotel. Now the Wynn Macau and MGM China Holdings Ltd have changed their policies from March 1 and require passengers who travel on the shuttle to provide a purchase receipt or a membership card of one of their casino loyalty programmes.

Guests who want to board one of the shuttles from MGM China or Wynn Macau casino properties must also be able to provide an on-date valid receipt or produce their casino loyalty programme membership card to obtain a shuttle bus ticket. MGM China has posted a number of notices highlighting the change in the rules at the shuttle terminals to make it clear that its free shuttles now have stipulated conditions.

The MGM China and Wynn Macau casino properties are not too far from each other and both companies believe that this new change in shuttle bus policies will help the casinos to provide their guests with a better customer experience.

Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd which owns the City of Dreams casino has instituted a similar policy but has made it applicable only for visitors who travel between the Gongbei border during peak hours. This means that visitors who board between 5 pm to 9 pm and shuttle between Macau and Guangdong province via the Zhuhai border will have to produce a casino loyalty program membership card or have a valid shuttle ticket.

The Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd and Sands China Ltd stated that they have no plans as of now to stop providing their free shuttle transportation in Macau.