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May 29, 2017

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Kaohsiung throngs new MRT line

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan -- A total of 52,000 passengers took the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system's Orange Line within two hours of its 1:00 p.m. opening yesterday, according to Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp. (KRTC), which operates the system.

Riders on the east-west Orange Line, operating from Sizihwan in Kaohsiung City to Daliao in Kaohsiung County, were taking advantage of a KRTC offer to ride the subway line for free from Sunday through Sept. 21, when the line is officially inaugurated.

Crowds flocked into the two main stations after noon to line up for their free ride, during which they were also given an opportunity to get vouchers for free hamburgers offered by a fast food company to celebrate the line's launch.

The Formosa Boulevard Station, which sits at the lone intersection of the MRT's Red and Orange lines and features "The Dome of Light," the largest glass work in the world, turned into a hot tourist attraction among passengers, with many of them scrambling to take photos of the dome.

To ensure the smooth flow of passenger traffic, KRTC General Manager Fan Chen-po led company staffers and 10 part-time student workers in directing passenger flows at all stations.

In addition to getting a free ride on the MRT line, many commuters also took advantage of the opportunity to buy Kaoshiung MRT commemorative ticket sets, folding bicycles, and other mementos, such as mugs, caps and key rings.

To mark the Orange Line's inauguration, the company will grant holders of the IPass card, a stored value card issued by the company, a preferential fare for one month, starting Sept. 22, when the free-fare offer ends.

The offer will allow IPass card holders to pay a flat fare of NT$15 per trip on the Red and Orange lines, regardless of distance.

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