Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit

Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit
Locale Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 3[1]
Number of stations 45[1]
Daily ridership 178,975 (Dec. 2013 avg.)[2]
Website Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp.
Began operation March 9, 2008
Operator(s) Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation
System length 47.3 km (29.4 mi)[1]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) (standard gauge)
Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit System
Traditional Chinese 高雄都會區大眾捷運系統
Traditional Chinese 高雄捷運
A KMRT train approaching World Games Station

The Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit System (KMRT; Chinese: 高雄大眾捷運系統, 高雄捷運; pinyin: Gāoxióng Dàzhòng Jiéyùn Xìtǒng, Gāoxióng Jiéyùn) is a rapid transit system covering the metropolitan of Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Construction of the KMRT started in October 2001.[3] The Red Line and the Orange Line opened on March 9 and September 14, 2008, respectively.[4][5][6] 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 Metrobits.org in 2011.[7] 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.[8]


The Kaohsiung City Government undertook a feasibility study for constructing 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.[9]

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, receiving 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.[9] The current system cost NT$181.3 (US$5.46 billion) to construct and includes a contract for 30 years of operation and maintenance.[10] Construction costs were shared between the central government (79%), Kaohsiung City Government (19%), and Kaohsiung County Government (2%).[1]

Construction began in October 2001, with 66 shield tunnels (45.3 km) completed in May 2006.[10] The cut-and-cover and bored tunnel methods were used for construction of the lines.[1] In November 2006, the first trial runs began on the Red Line.[10] In January 2007, the last concrete slabs were laid for the 37 planned stations.

Scandals and major construction accidents

Passengers lining up to board at Zuoying Station

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]

The Kaohsiung MRT Foreign Workers 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]

As of December 2013, the average daily ridership stands at about 178,975, with ridership figures significantly greater on weekends than on weekdays.[2] 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]

Unopened Stations

The R1, R2, and O3 stations were built but never put into operation. The R1 and R2 stations had canceled service, and the O3 was abandoned after a fire in the nearby aboveground area.


The Kaohsiung MRT system is made up of 2 lines with 36 stations covering a distance of 42.7 km (26.5 mi).[1] 27 of these stations are underground, with 8 elevated and 1 at-grade level. All underground stations have full height platform screen doors.

Line Termini
Stations[1] Length[1] Depot
Red Line Gangshan South
23 28.3 km North
Orange Line Sizihwan
14 14.4 km Daliao
Circular Line
C1-C8 (Trials)
Kaohsiung Exhibition Center
8 4.6 km Cianjhen

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 late-2016.

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

Long-term plans(include Tainan LRT)

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

Lines TerminalsLength
in km
 Red Line  Chimei extensionChimei Museum-Dahu7.0571.67plannedrapid
Gangshan/Lujhu extensionDahu-Gangshan South13.22planned
Main lineGangshan SouthSiaogang28.3operational
Linyuan extensionSiaogang—Linyuan Ind'l Park12.2under evaluationLRTLinyuan[18]
Donggang extensionWufang—Dapengwan10.9proposedBRT
 Orange Line  Main lineSizihwanDaliao14.443.07operationalrapid
Daliao extensionDaliao—Linyuan14.67proposedBRT
Pingtung extensionFongshan Jr. HS—Taisugar PT FTY14.0approved by Executive Yuanrapid
 Circular Line  Phase I (Main line)Lizihnei—Hamasing8.722.1under constructionLRTCianjhen
Agriculture 16 Yard
Phase II (Main line)Hamasing—Ersheng Rd.13.4planned
 Yanchao Line  Phase I (Main line)Yuanjhong Harbor—Shu-Te Univ.12.7823.17revisedYanchao OEM
Phase II (Main line)Shenshuei—Buddha Mem. Hall10.39proposed
 Youchang Line  Main line Zuoying—Yuanjhong Harbor6.46.4proposedBRT
 Yellow Line  Main line Dream Mall—Shanjiao—Niaosong14.323.17plannedLRTNiaosong
Shanjiao—Kaohsiung Exhibition Center8.87
 Fongshan Line  Main line Ruixiang Jr. HS—Niaosong10.3810.38planned
 Green Line  Main line Wujia Ruilung—Houjing16.1516.15proposedBRT 
 Foguangshan Line  Main line Siliao—Cable-Stayed Bridge16.0616.06proposed

Rolling stock

The rolling stock is based on the Siemens Modular Metro design manufactured by Siemens Mobility.[20] Trains run in 3 car sets (though platforms are designed to be able to accommodate up to 6 car sets, with the exception of Kaohsiung Main Station of only 3 car accommodations) 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 (other doors show the route map), showing the name of the current station and next station in Chinese and English. Automated announcements are made in Mandarin, Taiwanese (with the exception of Kaohsiung Arena Station since the Taiwanese translation for the name is not available), Hakka, and English, with Japanese announcements at the major stations. The train uses IGBT-VVVF traction motors powered by Siemens.

Central Park Station courtyard

Fares and ticketing

The fares of KMRT is distance-based, with a minimum of NT$20 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 an RFID IC token. In addition to the RFID IC token, there are four kinds of contactless smart card are accepted by the system. The iPASS card is the only card that could be deducted before 1 July, 2016. After 1 July, 2016, EasyCard, iCash2.0, HappyCash are accept by the system.

Formosa Boulevard Station's "Dome of Light"


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.

K.R.T. Girls

Main article: K.R.T. Girls

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Introduction: Welcome to MBTU". Mass Rapid Transit Bureau, Kaohsiung City. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
  2. 1 2 "KRTC Transport Volume Statistics" (pdf). Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation (via: http://www.krtco.com.tw/en/about_StatisticalData.aspx). January 6, 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-10. External link in |publisher= (help)
  3. "Railways". Ministry of Transportation and Communications. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  4. Staff writer (2007-12-08). "Kaohsiung firm apologizes for delay in opening MRT". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
  5. Wang, Flora (2008-03-08). "Kaohsiung MRT art illuminated". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
  6. "張揆主持高捷紅線首航通車典禮 (in Chinese)". Government Information Office 新聞局. 2008-03-09. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
  7. "A guide to the fifty most beautiful subway systems in the world". Metrobits.org. 2011-12-01.
  8. "15 of the Most Beautiful Subway Stops in the World". BootsnAll. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  9. 1 2 KMRT History - Kaohsiung City Mass Rapid Transit Bureau official site (Traditional Chinese)
  10. 1 2 3 "The Special Features And Prospect For Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System Project" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  11. "Construction halts on Kaohsiung Orange Line". The Taipei Times. August 14, 2004. p. 2.
  12. "Probe into Kaohsiung MRT project urged". Taiwan News. October 5, 2004.
  13. Kaohsiung mayor touts MRT system's coziness, convenience - The China Post
  14. 廖國雄 (2008-03-10). "高市/紅線通了 高捷公司允橘線8月通車 (in Chinese)". ETtoday. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
  15. http://www.chinapost.com.tw/business/asia/b-taiwan/2009/09/25/226072/Kaohsiung-Metro.htm
  16. 高雄捷運公司運量統計表
  17. "Kaohsiung MRT predicts 11% rise in passenger traffic". Taipei Times. 2011-01-04. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
  18. 本機廠並未命名,位在林園區
  19. 本機廠並未命名,位在OP5站附近
  20. http://www.mobility.siemens.com/apps/references/index.cfm?z=1&do=app.detail&referenceID=1343&lID=1
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