Fri, Feb 03, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Kaohsiung’s MRT seeks to boost ridership, cut losses

Staff Writer, with CNA

A Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) official said the corporation hoped to put a stop to financial losses by 2014, which have reached about NT$2.5 billion (US$81 million) annually. In an effort to prevent a fourth consecutive year of losses, the KRTC will aim to achieve ridership figures on the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (KMRT) system of 149,000 passengers a day, KRTC Department of Public Affairs Director Chang Hsiu-chi (張修齊) said on Wednesday.

The debt-ridden company has been in the red since the KMRT system began operating in March 2008 because of its inability to attract more passengers. To make ends meet, the metro system will ultimately need ridership figures of 180,000 passengers a day, Chang stated, adding that although the company expects to balance its books by 2014, it will still have to seek other sources to pay its debt.

Under the KRTC’s build--operate-transfer contract, NT$6.5 billion was set aside during the system’s construction to help subsidize losses. The fund currently stands at NT$3.9 billion. If the company uses the fund to cover part of its losses from last year, the fund will shrink to NT$3 billion.

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