Sat, Jul 02, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Taipei, Kaohsiung MRTs to accept iPass, EasyCard

UNFAIR TREATMENT:EasyCard criticized what it called KRTC’s unreasonable demand that it shoulder NT$20m of the NT$29m cost of installing value-adding machines

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

People with iPass electronic tickets now have access to all Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations, while people with EasyCards can now also ride on the Kaohsiung MRT.

Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC) yesterday said that all 1,337 gates at Taipei’s MRT stations now accept the iPass after upgrades to card readers and value-adding machines were completed last month.

Only one gate at every station had been open to iPass users before, it added.

TRTC said that under an electronic ticket integration policy, it began soliciting tenders from electronic ticket companies.

Four service providers — EasyCard, iPass, HappyCash and icash — won the bid, TRTC said.

Taipei’s MRT stations are to start accepting HappyCash and icash after the two firms pass a test regarding discounts offered to passengers transferring between the MRT stations and buses, it said.

Meanwhile, the chairmen of the four companies yesterday met at the Kaohsiung MRT system’s Zuoying Station to celebrate the launch of Kaohsiung’s integrated electronic ticket system.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) chairman Hau Chien-sheng (郝建生) said that the Kaohsiung MRT might not be the nation’s largest metro rail system, but it would strive to provide passengers with the best service.

EasyCard Corp chairman Kenneth Lin (林向愷) fielded questions about passengers not being allowed to add value to their EasyCards at Kaohsiung’s MRT stations.

Lin said that he did not see any inconvenience caused on the part of EasyCard Corp, as 18 banks would automatically wire money to cobranded EasyCards when the balance is below NT$100.

Furthermore, people can add value to their cards at convenience stores throughout the municipality, he said.

Lin said that the corporation would work with KRTC to install value-adding machines when the card’s circulation in Kaohsiung reaches 20 percent.

Meanwhile, EasyCard Corp protested what it said was KRTC’s “unreasonable” demand that it contribute NT$20 million (US$620,771) toward the NT$29 million cost of installing value-adding machines at Kaohsiung’s MRT stations.

EasyCard secretary-general Alice Chen (陳昭熹) said KRTC should not expect EasyCard to shoulder the majority of the costs because it has the widest circulation nationwide, but rather the cost should be split equally between the four companies.

Furthermore, the handling fee for passengers wanting to put money in their EasyCards is set at 0.75 percent, while the rate set by KRTC for the three other firms is 0.4 percent, Chen said.

EasyCard would enter into negotiations with KRTC over the unfair treatment, she said.

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