Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System: Part I

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Photos by MJ Klein

Our friend Craig has an article about the new KRT system, beating us to the punch with the scoop, but we couldn’t be more pleased, as Craig’s article goes into historical details about the system that we weren’t going to cover. So, the articles would appear to compliment each other. We recommend Craig’s article for excellent background information, and of course, his legendary photography.

Note: During our test ride experience, we encountered several different designations for the system, including Kaohsiung “Metro Rapid Transit System”, “Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System”, and simply “Rapid Transit System”. For the sake of uniformity, we will use the term “KRT” to refer to the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System in our articles. We hope that the term sticks, and will differentiate the Kaohsiung system from the Taipei system known as “MRT“.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
We entered the KRT at the famous Sanduo Shopping district station.

Before we take a ride (Part II), we’d like to show you some station features inside and out.

Sandou features a long hallway that takes a turn and then presents you with the station:

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
The stairs come down from the left, and you make this left turn into the station area.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
Each station has a detailed map showing the services at each station (more on this later) on the right side, and a station schematic diagram on the left.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
Through the ticket gates (which were open during the testing period), we see the main station area.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
The stations that we saw all had elevators to the street. The KRT is handicapped accessible.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
Like the Hong Kong system, the KRT rails are behind glass doors. This makes the platform area a great deal safer, and also seals the station area so the approaching train doesn’t suck all the air conditioning out of the platform area. Good design.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
Notice the exit signs (yellow) – the exits are numbered, which is very useful when navigating an underground transportation system. Its very easy to get turned around when there is no sun for reference. The maps use these numbers too (more on this later).

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
We rode this part of Red line, from where it says “You are here” (yellow rectangle) out to the end of the line as Siaogang. There are 2 lines, Red and Orange, and each station’s designation begins with the letter “R” or “O” respectively. This makes it more difficult to make mistakes when talking about station locations. Smart.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
In addition to the normal standard information, the station maps show various interconnecting services. For example, we see that Zouying station (not yet completed) has a connection to both the THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail) and the TRA (Taiwan Railway Authority). It was nice to see a station for the World Games National Sports Complex too.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
This shot shows just how far away the Red Line goes out from central Kaohsiung. You can travel out to south Gangshan, which is just short of halfway to Tainan.

Let’s take a look outside for a moment:

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
This is the KRT sign.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
These signs are conveniently located outside of each station and feature a schematic of the system so you know where you are.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
One thing that I really like about the KRT is that each station has it’s own look and own theme. The above station is in the Sanduo shopping area, near the FE21 complex.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
There are 4 entrances, one on each of the 4 main corners of the intersection, and they are all themed alike, but unlike other stations.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
So instead of the same boring design, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that each station is different and unique. Some of them are actually quite bold in their designs. I like that because in a country where so many things look much the same even to locals, unique stations not only make it easier to find your way around, they add to the beauty of the city.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
Cianjhen Senior High School station, at night.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transist System
Siaogang Station at night (the end of the Red Line).

So as you can see, all the stations have a unique look to them.

In Part II we are going to show you inside the trains as we take a few rides on the new system. We’ll show you what it’s like to find your way around inside the stations and a few caveats to watch out for. So you definitely won’t want to miss Part II!

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27 comments

  1. Great work. The day I went, I’d met a Dutch traveler in Meinong and we hung out together for the day. As we were heading back to Kaohsiung I mentioned the MRT test rides and told him that I wanted to try and scoop the Taiwan blogosphere. I only just managed to do it. I’m eager to see part 2.

    cfimages’s last blog post..Kaohsiung MRT

    1. cfimages » funny how we walk around thinking about our blogs and reporting on stuff! well i do have your mobile # in my phone Craig, so it’s my own fault for not giving you a call to see what you were up to. it was a bad week for me as i broke a tooth and had to endure the pain for 5 days until the end of the holiday. plus my arm was hurting like hell. oh yeah, the guitar that i wanted to check out wasn’t in stock either. on top of that, no one knows there the Thai places are! bummer!

    1. cfimages » where is that, Craig? HC and i are driving over to Andres’ home and then taking a taxi to the Blue Sky. there are lots of small Thai places in the area. cu there!

  2. Not exactly sure of which lane, but it runs off Jianguo Rd. I wandered through it one evening and there were lots of Thai, Indonesian and Filipino workers in a somewhat drunk state hanging out, and Thai-pop coming from one of the nearby buildings.

    cfimages’s last blog post..Alishan Forest Railway

  3. Nice post! Some of these ideas would really be nice to see back here in Stockholm, or in Taipei for that matter. How costly can it be to put up those glass doors compared to the air conditioning cost? Looking forward to part 2! Btw, for how long will the test period last? It could be cool to pass by on the way to Tainan when my GF and I go back to Taiwan this summer.

    1. Eddie G » i don’t actually know how long the testing period is going to go no for…. they took advantage of a large number of people being available to ride it during Chinese New Year. the glass doors are a great feature and that makes the whole system a lot safer. thanks Eddie and take care.

  4. mr.craig,,are u somewhat a racist??? anyway,,when you go to sandou district,,there is athat resto around at the back of shingkong the road there,,,and if you know hanshin dept store there is a thai resto near that,,,and mr.craig if you had walked a little farther,, there are lotsa pub there for foreigners,,and i mean people like you,,,

  5. test period is over,,,but if you buy a prepaid card,,,fare would be only 12nt for any destination,,,that would be until june i guess(for 3 mos)…well,, i got one myself,,,uh

  6. yeng, i don’t thing Craig is a racist, but you sure tagged yourself with that last line. the question that i have is, how do you know Craig is a “foreigner?” many people here make that mistake. just because someone looks different doesn’t mean they are foreign. i had someone tell me to my face once “i know you’re a foreigner because i can see your face.” what a stupid bitch that was.

    that’s good info about the KRT test period being over. if i lived down there i would get a card too! our family is there but we don’t go down there that often.

  7. well,,what i meant with a foreigner is that of a person from another country,,that’s what i literally call them,,,(that includes me) cause am a filipina worker….. about the krt test period being over,,really good cause you don’t have to struggle your way out of the train before it starts to kick off again,,,,,,,uh… and i know craig,,,he was a friend

  8. yang, i can appreciate that. i’m an immigrant and i consider myself to be a Taiwanese. now, if only everyone would stop pointing and saying stupid stuff! lol

    how does the pre-paid card work? where can you get a “refill” on the card? it sure would be nice if you could get it filled up at 7-11!

    about 3 weeks ago, HC and i saw the KRT running overhead and man, it was packed! i wonder how close it’s running to capacity already.

    thanks for your comments.

  9. uh,,i always wanted to be considered a taiwanese….unfortunately,,,they wont’ ,,,i don.t think they now have “refill” at 7-11 stores yet,,,i bought mine at the station booth,,,and after living in kao for almost 3yrs,,,i can say that the MRT makes life easy for us here(well,,we filipinos commute all the time)

  10. hi guys,,let me help you out with two thai restos somewhere in the district,,, no.231,Chinggong 1st rd.,lingya district,,kao city,802…that’s near the hanshin dept store,,, no.35,wunheng 2nd rd.,lingya district kao city 802..that’s the street facing the shingkong dept store…cheap one,,, there,,enjoy your thai meals everyone!!!

  11. hey,,i’ve discovered another thai resto today,,, take the krt to houyi station exit1,,just walk/cross the street directly facing the exit and you’ll find T.M PALACE!!!,,, oh,,sorry i forgot the names of the two i’ll try to find the calling card and get back to you as soon as i know,,,,, now you can enjoy thai meals on your visit to kao guys!!( uh,, i wish i could join though…lol)

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