Money-losing Kaohsiung MRT system pushing to increase revenues
Central News Agency
2009-03-09 08:11 PM
Kaohsiung, March 9 (CNA) The Kaohsiung mass rapid transit system will work to increase revenues and cut losses this year, an official of the company responsible for the subway system's operations said Monday.

Yen Pang-chieh, president of the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp., noted that the system lost NT$2.2 billion (US$63.21 million) in 2008, which he said had a "great impact on its operations." "The KRTC will work toward increasing revenues and saving expenses this year, " Yen said as the system celebrated the first anniversary of its inauguration.

He noted that since the inauguration of the Red and Orange lines of the rapid transit system in March and September last year, the operation's finances have suffered because of low passenger volume.

To make up the financial shortfall, the company plans to increase passenger volume by 30 percent from the present 120,000 to 150,000 and cut operating costs by 10 percent, he added.

Among the ways KRTC will try to boost ridership will be to target young people. The company intends to open the walkway at the Central Park station on the Red Line to young students for dance practice and dance competitions.

It will also work with the Kaohsiung City government to hold large concerts at the Kaohsiung Arena, which is located at one of the system's stops.

Another initiative to attract new riders will be to offer the Dome of Light, the world's single biggest glass artwork at the Formosa Boulevard Station, as a venue for mass weddings.

On the approval rating of the system on its first anniversary, a KRTC public relations official said that an exit poll showed that more than 90 percent had positive views of the security, convenience and comfort of the system.

The official said the system has commissioned National Cheng Kung University to conduct a more formal approval rating survey, with the results due in mid-March. The KRTC will take stock of the survey's results for future operations.

The Kaohsiung MRT was constructed on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis at a total cost of NT$181.3 billion.

Covering a total of 42.7 kilometers, the MRT system in the southern Taiwan port city is comprised of two lines -- the east-west Orange Line and the north-south Red Line.

(By Lilian Wu)

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