Kaohsiung's First Phase of Light Rail Transit Opening to the Public in August!
◎English translation: Wendy Wei Chang
◎Photos by Pao Chung-hui, Sie Guan-yi
Kaohsiung's first light rail transit is expected to go into service this coming August and residents are looking forward to this milestone in Taiwan's public transportation.
Integrated with Kaohsiung's other public transport systems, the Kaohsiung Light Rail Transit (KLRT) will intersect with Kaohsiung's Red and Orange MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) lines. Phase one will include a route of 8.7 kilometers, with construction having commenced in 2013. By the end of August, passengers will be able to utilize service from stations C1-C8, which will include Lizihnei, Kaisyuan Rueitian, Star of Cianjhen, Kaisyuan Jhonghua, Dream Mall, Kaohsiung Multifunctional Commerce and Trade Park, Kaohsiung Software Park and Kaohsiung Exhibition Center.
The second and final phase will include the rest of the 6 stations and complete the circular line. The whole light rail transit will run 22.1 kilometers in its entirety. The second phase is expected to become operational in June, 2016. The light rail transit is designed to make transportation to various scenic spots even more convenient. Its route will include attractions such as Cianjhen Bike Bridge, Dream Mall, Kaohsiung Exhibition Center and Kaohsiung Main Public Library which are part of the Asia's New Bay Area development initiative, as well as Pier-2 Art Center. It will also provide passengers breathtaking views of Kaohsiung's port and run along the beautiful Love River.
Operating along a catenary-free route, the light rail transit does not in any way inhibit Kaohsiung's beautiful skyline. This eco-friendly system has trains re-charging at every station, which takes about 30 seconds. The last of the light rail transit carriage arrived from Spain this past April, bringing the total to nine green and white sleek carriages. Phase one lines are currently undergoing a three-month test period; various inspections will be conducted.
Each train will pull a maximum of 5 carriages, with an approximate length of about 34 meters. This will have the capacity to carry 250 passengers. The trains will run every 7.5 minutes during rush hour and every15 minutes during regular hours. The Legislative Yuan passed an amendment of the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act, which gives the light rail transit the right of way. Whenever the train intersects with traffic, lights will notify vehicles to stop and give the train priority to safely pass through.
The designs of the stations are also user friendly. Every station has a roof so that passengers will not have to wait in the sun or rain. The platform is 35 centimeters high, which is level to the carriage floors. This ensures no gaps between the carriages and the platform, making it easier to access and convenient for elderly and physically challenged passengers. There are two 7-meter wheelchair ramps on each side of the platforms. Tickets are sold from automated machines, which are set up along the platforms. Tickets are checked when passengers board the train. People can use their Kaohsiung MRT card on the light rail transit. With its eco-friendly design and ease of use, the light rail transit is sure to become a gem of Kaohsiung City.