Kaohsiung, Passengers traveling on the light rail line of the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (KMRT) system will have to pay fares with effect from March 1, when free ridership comes to an end, the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation said Tuesday.
Travel on the light rail line, the first of its kind in Taiwan, has been free since December 2017, when the city government began offering a three-month free public transportation program to combat the heavy air pollution that usually plagues the southern port city during this time of the year.
However, commuters will still be able to enjoy a special offer of NT$10 (US$0.34) per ride on the light rail through the iPASS payment system from March 1 until May 31, it explained.
Those without an iPASS card will be charged NT$30 per ride, according to the rapid transit company.
Air pollution is particularly severe from December to February in Kaohsiung, which is why the city government is encouraging people to use public transport, the company said.
The program, initiated by Kaohsiung's Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB), allows those who possess an e-ticket to take city buses, highway buses and the light rail trains for free.
People with an e-ticket who take the KMRT trains can ride free of charge on weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to help them commute to and from work or school.
Beginning March, fares on all city buses will return to normal, although riders will be able to enjoy a NT$3 discount when transferring from the KMRT, according to the Kaohsiung Bus Group.