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May 29, 2017

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Kaohsiung's I Pass card service to be expanded

KAOHSIUNG -- The functions of Kaohsiung City's mass rapid transit stored-value card will be expanded from Thursday, allowing its use for small payments at supermarkets and electronics and convenience stores throughout southern Taiwan, one of the participating companies said yesterday.

To this end, an I Pass card company has been established, comprising the local governments in the south, Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp., the Executive Yuan's Development Fund and private enterprises, a company executive said.

Starting Thursday, consumers will be able to use I Pass cards for payments from NT$100 up to NT$10,000 (US$329) at convenience stores, supermarkets, and computer, communication, and consumer electronics (3C) stores in Kaohsiung and four other southern municipalities, said Wang Kuo-tsai, chairman of the card company.

It will also be usable for public transportation fares in the new participating municipalities — Tainan, Kaohsiung and Chiayi cities and Pingtung and Chiayi counties.

Currently, the card can only be used to pay fares on Kaohsiung's MRT, public buses and ferries.

The card company, capitalized at NT$528 million, will go into operation Thursday, starting with a launch ceremony that will be attended by the stakeholders, including the heads of the participating local governments.

The card company is working with product suppliers and stores to create a win-win-win situation among transportation companies, distributors and cardholders, Wang said.

He said the functions of the card will be expanded further in the future to allow payments for parking and entry to zoos and amusement parks in southern Taiwan.

Since I Pass was introduced in Kaohsiung in 2008, 4 million cards have been issued, according to the city's MRT bureau.

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