The Kaohsiung City Government's plan to build a light rail system to complement its mass rapid transit system has met strong opposition, with most city council members favoring a bus rapid transit system.
The Cabinet approved a plan submitted by the Kaohsiung City Government in early 2004 to build a light rail system. The Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit Bureau is working on a 19.6km light rail circular route budgeted at NT$11.4 billion (US$345.83 million), with 75 percent of the funds coming from central government subsidies.
Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Chuang Chi-wang (
The light rail system also contradicts the city's goal of moving underground all electric wires and cables in the city, he said.
Chuang recommended that the city adopt a "bus rapid transit" (BRT) system instead. His suggestion was supported by a large number of city councilors.
BRT refers to a high-quality bus service that is comparable to rail transit but with lower fares. While the cost for constructing a light rail system is estimated at NT$600 million per kilometer, the cost for a BRT system would only be a fraction of that, at NT$60 million per kilometer.
Wang Kuo-tsai (王國材), director of the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit Bureau, acknowledged the convenience that a BRT system can provide, but said that the light rail system could coexist with a BRT system.
Huang Shu-mei (
She said that she supports the light rail project because it would be pollution-free and environmentally friendly.