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Kaohsiung MRT

Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit
Locale Kaohsiung,  Taiwan
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 2
Number of stations 37
Daily ridership 190,690 (February 2013)[1]
Began operation March 9, 2008
Operator(s) Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation
System length 42.7 km (26.5 mi)
Track gauge (standard gauge)
System map


The Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit System (KMRT; Chinese: 高雄大眾捷運系統) is a rapid transit system covering metropolitan Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Construction of the KMRT started in October 2001.[2] The Red Line and the Orange Line opened on March 9 and September 14, 2008, respectively.[3][4][5] KMRT is operated by the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation (KRTC; Chinese: 高雄捷運公司) under the BOT contract the company signed with the Kaohsiung City Government.

Two of Kaohsiung's MRT stations, Formosa Boulevard Station and Central Park Station, were ranked among the top 50 most beautiful subway systems in the world by in 2011.[6] In 2012, the two stations respectively are ranked as the 2nd and the 4th among the top 15 most beautiful subway stops in the world by BootsnAll.[7]


The Kaohsiung City Government undertook a feasibility study to construct a rapid transit system in Kaohsiung in 1987. After finding favorable results, the city government began lobbying the Central Government for approval and funding. In 1990 approval was obtained to establish the Kaohsiung City Mass Rapid Transit Bureau and planning of the rapid transit network started. The first phase of the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit System, the Red and Orange Lines, was approved in 1991, but disputes in funding shares between Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung County Governments stalled the project. The Kaohsiung City Mass Rapid Transit Bureau was officially established in 1994, to coincide with the project's move into the final scoping and detail design stages.[8]

Work continued until 1996, when the Central Government ordered KMRT to look into constructing the project via the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) method. In 1999 the city government put out a request for the BOT contract to construct the first phase of the KMRT system. In 2000, out of the three consortia that submitted bids, Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation (KRTC) was awarded the contract received priority negotiating rights with the city government in constructing the system. KRTC obtained a company license and was registered in December 2000. In January 2001, KRTC signed the "Construction and Operation Agreement" and the "Development Agreement" with the Kaohsiung City Government, signaling the beginning of construction of the KMRT system. The main participants of the KRTC are: China Steel Corporation, Southeast Cement Corporation, RSEA Engineering Corporation, China Development Industrial Bank, and the Industrial Bank of Taiwan.[8] The currently system cost NT$181.3 (US$5.46 billion) to construct and includes a contract for 30 years of operation and maintenance.[9] Construction costs were shared between the central government (79%), Kaohsiung City Government (19%), and Kaohsiung County Government (2%).[10]

Construction began in October 2001, with 66 shield tunnels (45.3 km) completed in May 2006.[9] The cut-and-cover and bored tunnel methods were used for construction of the lines.[10] In November 2006, the first trial runs began on the Red Line.[9] In January 2007, the last concrete slabs were laid for the 37 planned stations.

Scandals and major construction accidents

In August 2004, a section of subway tunnel near Sizihwan Station at the west end of the Orange Line collapsed during construction due to loose sand underground and water break-ins. Four low-rise buildings near the collapsed tunnel had to be evacuated and later on had to be torn down due to major structure damages.[11]

A scandal involving alleged inhumane treatment of Thai migrant workers erupted in 2005. Investigation revealed kickbacks to politicians by the contractor. The scandal had tainted the public confidence in the construction of the system and prompted a diplomatic response by the Thai Prime Minister asking the migrant workers to return to Thailand. Chen Chu, the Chairperson of the Council of Labor Affairs of the Executive Yuan, resigned as a result of the scandal.[12]

In December 2005, another subway tunnel section of the Orange Line at eastern Kaohsiung City collapsed during construction. The collapse of the subway tunnel also brought about the collapse of a road tunnel above the subway tunnel. Several nearby buildings were evacuated for several days for inspection. It was estimated that the road tunnel could not be rebuilt and reopened for traffic for at least a few months. In January 2008 the section was still closed and traffic is diverted around the affected area.


Construction accidents delayed the opening of the MRT considerably from the originally planned December 2006 date. The Sanduo-Siaogang section of the Red Line was eventually opened to the public for free test rides during February 8–11, 2008,[13] and the Red Line (except for 2 stations) opened for service on March 9, 2008.[14] The Orange Line fully opened for service on September 14, 2008.


Ridership has been far below expectations, with an average of 100,000 passengers per day versus an expected 360,000, and accumulated losses are expected to reach NT$6 billion by the end of 2009.[15] Currently, as of February 2013, the average daily ridership stands at about 190,690, with ridership figures significantly greater on weekends than on weekdays.[1] During New Year's Eve on December 31, 2012, the system transported 472,378 passengers.[16] KRTC stated that ridership would need to exceed 380,000 passengers per day in order to break even.[17]


The Kaohsiung MRT system is made up of 2 lines with 36 stations covering a distance of 42.7 km (26.5 mi).[10] 27 of these stations are underground, with 8 elevated and 1 at-grade level. All underground stations have full height platform screen doors. A 2.3-km stretch to Gangshan South Station on the Red Line is expected to open by the end of 2012.[18]

  • Kaohsiung MRT route table:
    • In operation: Main lines: 2, Extensions: 0
    • Planned: Main lines: 9, Extensions: 6
    • Total routes: Main lines: 11, Extension: 6
    • Terminated: Main line: 1, Extensions: 1
Livery & Line Terminuses
Stations Length
Red Red (Main) Ciaotou
23 28.3 North
Gangshan South
Orange Orange (Main) Sizihwan
14 14.4 Daliao

Red Line

Main article: Red Line (KMRT)

From the intersection of Yanhai and Hanmin Roads in the Siaogang District in the South, the Red Line travels northwards, following Jhongshan Road as it passes by Kaohsiung International Airport, Labor Park, Sanduo Shopping District, Central Park, and Dagangpu Circle to Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) Kaohsiung Station. After crossing the track yard of TRA, the route then follows Boai Road arriving at Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) Zuoying Station / TRA New Zuoying Station. Then the route passes through Banpingshan, extends along Zuonan Road to Nanzih Export Processing Zone, and continues into parts of the city formerly part of Kaohsiung County. The route finally passes along the Gaonan Highway to Qiaotou District and the southern border area of Gangshan District. The total length of Red Line is approximately 28.3 kilometers, with 24 stations on the route, of which 15 are underground, 8 elevated and 1 at ground level. Two depots will be built near Caoya Station and beside Gangshan South Station to serve the line. The Red Line (excluding Gangshan South Station) commenced passenger service on 9 March 2008. Gangshan South Station was opened for passenger service on December 23, 2012.

Orange Line

Main article: Orange Line (KMRT)

From the west, the Orange Line starts at Sizihwan (Linhai 2nd Road), crosses the track yard of TRA Kaohsiung Port Station and follows Dayong Road, passing through Love River. The route then follows Jhongjheng Road as it passes by Kaohsiung City Council, Dagangpu Circle, Cultural Center, Martial Arts Stadium, and the Weiwuying Park planning site before entering parts of the city formerly part of Kaohsiung County. The route continues along Zihyou Road, Guangyuan Road and Jhongshan East Road in Fengshan District to Daliao District. The total length of the line is approximately 14.4 kilometers, with 14 stations on the route. All stations are underground except Daliao Station, which is at ground level. A single depot has been built beside Daliao Station to serve the line. The Orange Line commenced passenger service on 14 September 2008.

Circular Light Rail Line

Main article: Circular Line (KMRT)

The Circular Light Rail Line (aka Kaohsiung LRT, Kaohsiung Tram) for Kaohsiung City is a planned light rail line. Construction of Phase I began in June 2013, and is scheduled to be in operation by mid-2015.

A temporary light rail system for demonstration purposes, with just 2 stations, was built in the Central Park in 2004, using Melbourne D2 Tram cars from Siemens. As it was simply for demonstration purposes, it was closed soon after, and is no longer operational.

Future lines

The Kaohsiung MRT is expected to be extended further into parts of Greater Kaohsiung, as well as Pingtung County.

Lines Terminals Length
in km
Status Type Depot
Template:KMRT line links Gangshan/Lujhu ext. Lujhu-Gangshan South 10.46 61.86 under evaluation rapid
Main line Gangshan SouthSiaogang 28.3 operational
Linyua ext. Siaogang—Linyuan Ind'l Park 12.2 planned LRT Linyua[19]
Donggang ext. Wufang—Dapengwan 10.9 proposed BRT
Template:KMRT line links Main line SizihwanDaliao 14.4 43.07 operational rapid
Daliao ext. Daliao—Linyuan 14.67 proposed BRT
Pingtung ext. Fongshan Jr. HS—Taisugar PT FTY 14.0 under approval rapid
Template:KMRT line links Phase I (Main line) Yisin Rd.—Hamasing Kaohsiung Port 8.7 22.1 under construction LRT Cianjhen
Agriculture 16 Yard
Phase II (Main line) Hamasing Kaohsiung Port—Ersheng Rd. 13.4 planned
East ext. Artistic Park—Jhonghua 5th Rd. 8.1 8.1 proposed
Template:KMRT line links Phase I (Main line) Yuanjhong Harbor—Shu-Te Univ. 12.78 23.17 revised Yanchao OEM
Phase II (Main line) Shenshuei—Buddha Mem. Hall 10.39 proposed
Template:KMRT line links Main line Zuoying—Yuanjhong Harbor 6.4 6.4 proposed BRT
Template:KMRT line links Main line Singuang Frry. Wharf—Niaosong 10.72 10.72 planned LRT Niaosong
Template:KMRT line links Main line Dream Mall—Niaosong 14.3 14.3 planned
Template:KMRT line links Main line Ruixiang Jr. HS—Niaosong 10.38 10.38 planned
Template:KMRT line links Main line Wujia Ruilung—Houjing 16.15 16.15 proposed BRT  
Template:KMRT line links Main line Siliao—Cable-Stayed Bridge 16.06 16.06 proposed

Rolling stock

The rolling stock is manufactured by Siemens. Trains run in 3 car sets (though platforms are designed to be able to accommodate up to 6 car sets) and are powered by third rail. Seats are arranged parallel to the windows, unlike their Taipei Metro counterparts. LED displays are installed above every alternate door, showing the name of the current station and next station in Chinese and English. Automated announcements are made in Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka, and English, with the exception of Kaohsiung Arena Station since the Taiwanese translation for the name is not available.

Fares and ticketing

The fare on the KMRT system is distance-based with a starting fare of NT$20, which is good for trips within 10 km. The maximum fare on Red Line is NT$60, from Siaogang Station to Ciaotou Station.

One way fare is ticketed with the RFID IC token. A RFID stored value card, the I Pass (一卡通, literally one card pass) is also offered. Discounts are offered to students and senior citizens. Outside of the KMRT system, the I Pass can also be used to pay for rides on Kaohsiung City buses.

The TaiwanMoney Card may also be used for payment of fares, but is not integrated with the automatic fare gate, requiring users to pass through station agent operated gates. Similar smart cards for use in the Taichung and Taipei areas cannot be used interchangeably.


Kaohsiung Arena Station, Formosa Boulevard Station, and Kaohsiung International Airport Station feature artworks integrated into the design of the station by international artists.

Facilities and services

Platform screen doors were supplied by ST Electronics have been installed at all underground stations. LCD television units have also been installed on platform doors for the broadcast of train information and advertisements. All stations are wheelchair accessible.

See also

References and notes

External links

  • Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation Official Website
  • Mass Rapid Transit Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government

Template:Taiwan rapid transit

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