Government must decide on possible high-speed rail line extension: THSRC

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Jan 04, 2018 - Page 3

The government must decide if the high-speed rail line should be extended from Kaohsiung to Pingtung, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) chairman Chiang Yao-chung (江耀宗) said at a news conference yesterday.

The company’s build-operate-transfer contract with the government stipulates that it build stations from Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) to Kaohsiung’s Zuoying District (左營), which it has, Chiang said.

The government should decide if extending the line is necessary, he said, adding that the company cannot make any assessments until government policy is clear.

As a publicly traded firm, any major investment would have to be approved by its board of directors first, he added.

The Bureau of High Speed Rail has identified two possible routes in Kaohsuing for the extension, with one beginning from Zuoying and the other from Yenchao District (燕巢).

Construction of either route would take 11 years and the government would have trouble redeeming costs within 30 years of completion, the bureau said, adding that construction costs between Yenchao and Pingtung could be more than NT$50 billion, (US$1.69 billion) and an extension from Zuoying would cost about NT$48.9 billion.

In related new, as of last year THSR passenger volume reached 60 million since its launch in 2007. On average, the system is used by an 166,000 passengers daily.

The train punctuality rate was 99.72 percent last year, with each train delay lasting an average of six seconds, the company said.

A record was set on Monday when the THSR was used by more than 285,000 people, the highest number recorded in a day, the company said.