SARS has taken a heavy toll on the Taipei Rapid Transit System which has seen a 30-percent drop in the number of passengers as a result of the outbreak of the epidemic, according to statistics compiled by the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp.
Officials of the company said that the number of rapid transit system users has been decreasing since April 24, when Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital was sealed off due to SARS, causing the first wvae of public panic over SARS.
The number of passengers fell to some 800,000 a day by the end of last month from a daily average of 950,000 registered prior to April 24, the officials noted.
The figure continued to decline this month, with the daily average passenger figures for the period from May 1 to May 22 registering at approximately 600,000 passengers a day.
The sharpest decline has been seen on weekends, with the daily average during the SARS epidemic being less than 400,000. The lowest figure was recorded May 11, a Sunday, at some 298,000 riders.
The transit officials estimated that the company has lost more than NT$213 million (US$6.13 million) in passenger fare revenue during the period between April 24 and May 22.
These estimates were based on the daily average number of riders registered in March and an average fare of NT$22 per ride.