A New Era in Public Transportation: Kaohsiung's Light Rail
◎English translation: Hou Ya-ting
◎Photos by Kao Jhih-hung, Jhang Jian Ying-hao, Kao Chia-tse
Kaohsiung's light rail system commenced trial runs in October 2015, and many local residents have participated with enthusiasm. These passengers share a sense of joy and pride at riding Taiwan's very first light rail. The light rail system marks an important milestone in Taiwan's public transportation. As Mayor Chen Chu has stated, the light-rail system shows Kaohsiung's public transportation is on a par with other international cities.
Kaohsiung's light-rail stations are minimalist in terms of design. The open space better connects the stations to surrounding communities, and enhances ventilation. There is grass on either side of the track, helping passengers relax while waiting for trams.
The trams themselves enhance the city's intriguing scenery. As a tram approaches, the streamlined vehicle with its green and white exterior fits smoothly in with the backdrop of blue skies and trees. When they move, the trams look as if they are sliding through grass. When a tram stops, and riders press a button indicating they wish to embark; the doors slide open in opposite directions. The interior of each car is decorated in white, bluish gray and light green. Ergonomic seat design ensures every passenger has a pleasant journey.
Light rail riders can use the trams for sightseeing as well as commuting, thanks to the large windows and the complete absence of catenary wires which might otherwise obscure the view. Thus riding the light rail is a comfortable and interesting way to travel in Kaohsiung.
Kaohsiung's light rail system realizes the city's determination to adopt sustainable transportation, and marks a new era for Taiwan's public transportation. Kaohsiung welcomes friends from all over the world to experience this new way of traveling in Kaohsiung.