Thu, Sep 24, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Kaohsiung City urged to take over its MRT system

MONEY WOES City Council Speaker Chuang Chi-wang said the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system’s debts are soaring because it is losing NT$25 million a month


The Kaohsiung City Government should prepare to take over the debt-ridden Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, whose losses are projected to reach nearly NT$6 billion (US$185.6 million) by the end of this year, the city council said yesterday.

City Council Speaker Chuang Chi-wang (莊啟旺) told a council meeting that the city government should not sit by as the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) struggles with the enormous debt it has amassed since the system opened in April. The city should prepare to take over the system in the public interest, Chuang said.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said that unlike the Taiwan high speed rail, the major problem with the Kaohsiung metro was low passenger volume.

The city government has come up with a number of incentives to increase passenger loads, she said, adding that the merger of Kaohsiung City and County should help boost the number of riders and make the system more sustainable.

The system is losing an average of NT$25 million a month and its estimated losses of NT$6 billion by the end of this year would be more than half of the KRTC’s total paid-in capital of NT$10 billion and in excess of the maximum limit on bank loans, Chuang said.

The metro system is a public enterprise, and the KRTC cannot suspendservice because of operating losses, he said.

The city government should also ask the Control Yuan, prosecutors and investigators to look into whether there were any irregularities in the bidding on the project, he said.

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