Kaohsiung MRT to accept EasyCards starting July

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Mar 27, 2016 - Page 3

Starting in July, EasyCard holders will be able to use the electronic card to take the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Kenneth Lin (林向愷) said on Friday.

Lin said all gates at all Kaohsiung’s MRT stations will start accepting EasyCards on July 1, while Taipei’s MRT stations, which currently limits access by iPass electronic cards to one gate per station, will also open up all gates to iPass users.

Lin said the improvement was the result of a year-long negotiation with the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC).

Under an electronic ticket integration initiative launched by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the KRTC accepted tenders from four electronic ticket companies, including EasyCard and iPass Corp.

The KRTC said the four companies will have to share the cost of new card readers, totaling about NT$200 million (US$6.1 million), that are to be installed in Kaohsiung’s MRT stations for the integration.

After the ministry granted a subsidy of NT$80 million for the integration, the KRTC asked EasyCard, which has the largest circulation among the four firms, to shoulder NT$69 million of the card readers’ cost, Lin said.

The Kaohsiung operator finally settled with an offer of NT$45 million after it agreed to drop what Lin described as an “unreasonable” request that EasyCard pay for 211 value-adding machines to be installed at the southern city’s MRT stations.

The Taipei City Government, which has a 40 percent stake in EasyCard Corp, in September last year drew criticism from city councilors when it unilaterally opened one gate at Taipei’s MRT stations despite the KRTC’s demand that the corporation pay for EasyCards to be accepted at Taipei’s MRT stations.