The number of passengers using the Kaohsiung mass rapid transport system has risen significantly since gasoline prices increased by between 7 and 11 percent on Monday.
The system transported an average of 149,000 passengers a day between Monday and Thursday, 12,000 more than the average daily figure for last month, said Chang Hsiu-chi (張修齊), head of Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Co’s Department of Public Affairs.
“If the volume grows steadily every day, we are confident of achieving our goal of balancing revenues and expenditures at an early date,” he added.
According to the company, Greater Kaohsiung’s MRT system has incurred deficits of at least NT$2 billion (US$67.7 million) every year since it began operations in 2008. The deficits have been attributed to the low number of passengers and problems with land development.
Kaohsiung Rapid Transit has said a daily passenger volume of 158,000 would ease its financial woes and allow the company to more than cover its operating expenses (which do not include interest payments).
A passenger volume of 170,000 would allow it to balance its cash flow, Chang added.
The Kaohsiung MRT system has not been as popular as the one in Taipei, which covers a broader area and transports about 1.6 million passengers daily.
Fuel-price increases have also generated passenger growth for Greater Kaohsiung bus companies.
Kaohsiung City Bus Services Administration commissioner Ou Hsiu-ching (歐秀卿) said since Tuesday, the number of people taking government-run buses has increased by more than 2,000 people to 69,000 a day.
For public bus services operated by private companies under government contracts, the daily passenger volume has risen by 3,000, reaching 40,000 passengers, Ou said.