Holders of Kaohsiung MRT Cards or Taiwan Smart Cards will be able to use their cards on the Taipei MRT by the end of this year, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday.
Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯), director-general of the Department of Railways and Highways, said Taipei Rapid Transit would install multiple card readers at 104 ticket gates at its stations, with the project scheduled for completion at the end of the year.
The department said the multiple card readers would be installed on top of the existing ticket gates, which can only read the Taipei EasyCard.
The EasyCard is used on the Taipei MRT system and on public buses in the city, while the Taiwan Smart Card is used on public buses that run in Taoyuan and Chiayi.
The Kaohsiung MRT card is used to access the Kaohsiung MRT system as well as the public bus system in Greater Kaohsiung.
The EasyCard is the largest card system in the nation, with 23 million cards in circulation.
The Taiwan Smart Card and the Kaohsiung MRT card have 1.6 million and 2.1 million cards in circulation respectively.
The installation of the multiple card readers is part of the ministry’s three-year plan to improve the public transportation system.
The ministry’s plans include providing subsidies to public bus and city bus operators to help them install card readers on the buses.
The plan does not include freeway bus operators.
As of May this year, 778 public bus routes around the nation have been equipped with multiple card readers.
Statistics from the department showed that as of July this year, there were 1.7 million records of cardholders using their cards in regions other than their original service area.
The number rose from 11,934 times in May and 586,171 in June to 1,150,466 in July.
Chen said the department was still reviewing a plan submitted by the Kaohsiung MRT system to install multiple-card reading ticket gates.
The department said it should meet its goal of using only one card for travel on public buses, MRT systems and select Taiwan Railway Administration routes by the end of next year.
It said there were still a number of issues that have to be resolved before the high-speed rail could be added to the plan.