Tue, Nov 07, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Ko is to address Kaohsiung EasyCard issue, says he should learn to speak less

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he would send a request to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to help solve the issue of EasyCards not being accepted on the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (KMRT) light rail line.

The line begin charging fares on Wednesday last week, but EasyCards, which are widely accepted on Taipei public transportation, are not a payment option.

Former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) had insisted on market equality for Kaohsiung’s iPass and Taipei’s EasyCards, but even though iPass cards can be used in Taipei, EasyCards are still not accepted on the KMRT light rail, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠) said.

“I will call the ministry immediately and ask them to deal with the case quickly. If not, we will take the case to the Fair Trade Commission,” Ko said.

Meanwhile, KMT Taipei City Councilor William Hsu (徐弘庭) said that EasyCard Corp had donated NT$100,000 (US$3,311) to the New Culture Foundation last year and this year.

As the foundation was founded by Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and has often invited Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politicians to make speeches, Hsu questioned whether it is appropriate for the semi-governmental company to donate to an organization associated with politics.

He also said that Friends of the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade, of which Hsieh is chairman, had also donated NT$300,000 to Ko for his 520km “twin tower” bicycle trip last year.

“Of course sponsoring a political party’s event is not allowed,” Ko said, adding that he did not know anything about it as his only job was to ride a bicycle, but promised that the city government would investigate.

In other news, Ko yesterday said that he might have failed at getting along with other people and should learn to speak less in response to a city councilor’s inquiry about his criticism of local governments’ debt problems.

Ko last week said that Kaohsiung is more than NT$260 billion in debt and that many local governments are becoming “Miaoli-ized,” meaning that they are likely to face near-bankruptcy as the Miaoli County Government did a few years ago.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) and Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) had expressed their dissatisfaction with Ko’s remark, while a few Taipei city councilors also criticized Ko for discussing other governments’ business.

Chin asked whether Ko feels attacked from all sides, as he is not even supported by councilors in the pan-green camp.

Ko said there will always be opposing opinions and all he can do is respond to them, adding that he might have “failed to get along with other people,” so he should speak less in the future.

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