Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) yesterday reported net profit after tax of NT$5.34 billion (US$178.4 million) for last year, with the average daily passenger volume rising 7 percent to 166,000.
The high-speed rail operator presented its performance report for last year at an annual shareholders’ meeting in Taipei yesterday morning.
The company also reported a distributable surplus of NT$5.16 billion and earnings per share of NT$0.75.
The firm has participated in a corporate management evaluation for the first time since it became a publicly listed firm on Oct. 27, 2016, THSRC chairman Johnson Chiang (江耀宗) said, adding that of 864 corporations, it ranked in the top 5 percent.
The annual report highlighted other achievements, such as its passenger volume reaching one-day record highs of 276,000 and 285,000 on Double Ten National Day last year and New Year’s Day respectively.
Total passenger volume this year is forecast to reach 62.27 million, the company said, adding that the estimate has taken into account steady economic growth, as well as a digital ticketing service, a membership program and other marketing strategies.
Passenger volume and train services have grown steadily since the high-speed rail system was launched 11 years ago, the report said.
The seat usage rate last year rose 1.64 annually to 65.16 percent, it said.
The system last year carried an average of 166,000 passengers per day, an annual increase of 11,000, it added.
The high-speed rail system’s average punctuality rate — defined as train services delayed by less than five minutes — was 99.72 percent last year, the report said.
Revenue last year grew 7 percent to NT$43.44 billion, with net profit after tax rising 29 percent to NT$5.34 billion, it said.
The company’s management faced a variety of questions from shareholders, from raising the seat usage rate to the possibility of lowering ticket prices.
The problem the firm faces is that the seat usage rate might hit 100 percent, or even 105 percent, during peak hours, but it could drop to 45 percent during off-peak hours, Chiang said.
THSRC has devised multiple strategies to shift part of the passenger load during peak hours to off-peak hours, he said.
The company would have to consider social and economic factors, as well as its competitiveness, before it decides on any adjustments to ticket prices, Chiang said, adding that the company would carefully assess its options.
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