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March 28, 2017

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High-speed rail daily ridership up by over 10 percent

Taipei -- Taiwan's High Speed Rail enjoyed a more than 10 percent increase in the average daily ridership in 2016 due to the addition of new stations on the rail line, government statistics showed Friday.

Citing the data, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said that the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. (台灣高鐵), the sole provider of high speed rail transport services in the country, carried an average of about 155,000 passengers a day last year, up 11.6 percent from the 139,000 recorded a year earlier.

The DGBAS said that the THRSC has benefited from adding the Miaoli, Changhua and Yunlin stations at the end of 2015, as well as the Nangang station in July 2016, which have boosted its ridership.

Currently, the high speed rail stops at 12 stations from Nangang in the north to Zouying of Kaohsiung City in the south.

Government data showed that the growth in the high-speed rail company's ridership for 2016 was higher than the 5.3 percent recorded in 2015, indicating that the four additional stations did give a significant boost to its passenger numbers last year.

However, Taiwan Railway (台鐵), which operates multiple railway lines around the country, suffered a decline of more than 1 percent in the average daily ridership in 2016, the the statistics directorate said.

Last year, Taiwan Railway carried 629,000 passengers a day on average, down 1.1 percent from a year earlier, the data showed. The 2016 figure was the lowest since 2013, when the number of passengers the trains transported each day on average stood at 623,000, the data indicated.

As for the metro system in Taipei, the number of passengers carried by the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. (北捷) each day on average in 2016 rose 2.9 percent from 2015 to about 2.02 million, a record high in Taipei Metro's history.

In Kaohsiung, which operates another metro system in Taiwan, the average daily ridership for 2016 rose 4.5 percent from a year earlier to 172,000, also a record high in Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp.'s history.

Currently, Taipei Metro runs five lines throughout the capital, while Kaohsiung Metro operates only two lines. That's why the number of passengers it handles is much lower than its counterpart in Taipei.

Combining all the public transport options, the average daily ridership of Taiwan's rail systems hit almost 3 million, up 2.5 percent from a year earlier, the directorate said.

Meanwhile, the average daily ridership of public buses in Taiwan stayed almost flat at 0.1 percent growth year-on-year to 3.34 million in 2016, the directorate said.

But even as more people took public transit, sales of gasoline and diesel in Taiwan for 2016 rose 3 percent from a year earlier as a fall in international crude oil prices lifted fuel consumption, according to the directorate.

It added that in 2016, fuel prices in Taiwan fell 5.9 percent from 2015, when fuel prices had plunged 25 percent from a year earlier.

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