Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System: Part II

Photos by MJ Klein

Part I was an introduction to the system and showed you some features, the look and feel. Now, it’s time to take a ride!

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
Riding the escalator down to the platform


Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
The KRT system is single platform system (at least where we rode it). This means you never have to wonder if you are doing down the correct staircase to the correct platform, because they all lead to the same single platform. You only have to be concerned about direction once you are down there. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of signs to tell you which direction the rails are going.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
This is good news.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
People in southern Taiwan aren’t used to this concept yet. The yellow arrow in the center is for people leaving the cars. Several times during our test ride, the door opened and I was met with people standing directly in my way while trying to exit (they do the same thing in front of elevators but that’s another Sound Off! story). I just pushed them aside. They’ll get it eventually. Other countries have adopted this procedure (such as Hong Kong), with good results.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
Here we see a train approaching from behind the platform doors. You can hardly see the train, but you can definitely hear it.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
The outer doors open, and then the inner doors – just like an airlock.

A few shots inside the car:

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
I love green, but I wasn’t prepared to see this! Visitors to area riding the KRT might be confused by the fact that there is no green line but inside this looks like it would be a green line car.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
The map doesn’t light up like Hong Kong’s but it’s useful enough.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
I found a place in Taiwan where you can’t sit and eat!

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
The cars are manufactured by Siemens.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
I gotta tell you: My first words were “WHOO HOO!” The KRT is smooth! Smoother than the THSR. I was extremely impressed with the quality of the ride. There was no rocking, bumping or jerking like I have experienced riding other systems. The only complaint that I might mention is that the KRT is very loud. Hui-chen and I found talking a bit difficult.

The following shots show the door opening sequence. You may click any one of them and then view the entire series on Flickr if you like:

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
Outside opens first.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
Then the inside doors open.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
I found the seats too small for my frame. During part of the ride, I wasn’t sitting in between the dividers; I was sitting on top of one. That wasn’t comfortable. Bigger people may want to stand up.

We got out at a couple of stations and poked around looking at everything.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
Nice looking elevator to the street.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
In our last article
we said that the exits were numbered. All the station maps refer to this system and that makes navigation around the station a lot easier. It also makes it easier to meet people by telling them that you will exit at a certain number, which is visible on the outside too. So no more missed meetings because you were waiting across the street from where your friend thought you would be.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
Maps have a nice yellow balloon that says “You Are Here.”

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
The maps are highly detailed. Hui-chen and I were able to use the map to discern the best exit to leave the station by. Sweet!

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
These folding bikes were for sale in many of the stations during the test. It looked like many people were buying them too. It makes a lot of sense, both the selling of these bikes in the KRT system, and also the using of fold up bikes, too. I’d never seen this model before but they looked cool.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
We found a mistake on one of the signs.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
This is a system map, as previously mentioned. We confirmed that each station has them. I’ve been in other systems that did not have the station schematic (on the right side on this particular map). It’s one of those things that if you need it, you really wish you had it. Being able to see the station layout at a glance really helps you find your way around.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
This is one of the best though-out concepts I have ever seen. Immediately, people saw the value of all the information on one big map. I watched as these test riders figured out where they wanted to go on the outside, and then located the appropriate exit on the inside. This is going to reduce the number of people stumbling around looking for exits.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
The escalators all had this weird brush strip on the sides (it looks like a black line in the photo). I have no idea why, but if you brush up against it, you’ll move for sure. Perhaps that is the point.

What about human interfaces?

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
These devices were found outside of the ticket window.

Here are the turnstiles:

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
Below the display is a graphic that looks like a card and a coin. In Chinese you see that the turnstile accepts either passcards or one-way tickets. I am not sure how this is going to work because there isn’t a slot for the one-way ticket, but maybe you can give it a wave too. This is one of the few examples we found where either the graphic or the wording was confusing. We’ll show you more later.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
I used my hand as a gauge so you could see how huge the displays are!

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
They had the ticketing machines turned off during the test. The system was open and free. Like the Hong Kong system, there is a large touch screen to selected the destination station. Super easy!

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
Wherever we saw ticket machines we usually saw an ATM.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
Wow. I haven’t seen one of these for ages.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
This shot shows the clearly marked exit numbers for the station. But the real reason that I took this photo is because the KRT connects with the Kaohsiung airport. Hui-chen and I got off at this station to investigate.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
One walks toward the appropriate terminal. In our case we wanted to see what it’s like to connect to the international terminal. Here we see the escalator to the street level. From where this shot was taken, if you look to the left, you see a set of 4 elevators down the hall:

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
Looking directly up you see this sign. For all intents and purposes this sign is telling you that this is a handicapped only elevator.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
And certainly the graphic above the elevator would indicate this.

Clearly, the designers of the KRT would prefer that passengers take the escalator up to the street level. Sometimes in Taiwan, there seems to be an “exclusive” mentality that prevails about things. For example, one time I wanted to buy a big sponge to wash the walls in my restroom. When I selected the sponge that I wanted, someone told me “That’s for washing cars.” I replied “I’m pretty sure it can wash walls too.” In this case the elevators are fine for passengers and they are four of them so I don’t think any handicapped passengers would be inconvenienced by non-handicapped passenger usage. And there is a very good reason why anyone would want to use one of these elevators from this level. That reason will become apparent momentarily.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
This is where you land when you take the escalator up to street level. From here you can see the airport runways (to the left in this perspective) and you’re pretty much out in the open, except for the overhead passageway. Look along the left side of this photograph please.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
Guess what this is? That’s right – it’s the same elevator from below.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
These signs are Engrish. They mean “Elevator to MRT Station” and unless you knew that you’d be thinking you were going to take an elevator to get to the station elevator.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
These elevators are tiny! There is no way that a wheelchair person, an attendant and luggage for 2 people would fit in one of these. I don’t know what they were thinking. Hui-chen and I found it cramped and we made a note that it would be a tight fit with our normal compliment of international luggage.

Once inside, you are going to be confused by the fact that the term “MRT” doesn’t not exist anywhere. This is what the levels mean:

  • Transfer Level 2: This is the overhead passageway that connects the domestic terminal and the international terminal.
  • Ground Level 1: This level is where the escalator from the KRT system takes you (and is the level we are on in this article currently).
  • Concourse Level B1: This is the KRT system level, near the escalator previously shown.

Notice that this elevator goes up to the passageway. We pressed #2 and took a look around:

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
This is not unlike the tunnel between the domestic and international terminals at Thailand’s Don Muang airport. This is a nice covered walkway with moving belt so you can relax. We went to the left, towards the international terminal.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
We exited the end of the walkway through this door, turned around….

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
….and found that we were right at the entrance to the international terminal.

We reaized that if you use the elevator from the “concourse” level in the KRT, you can take it up to the “transfer level” and walk to the terminal of your choice in comfort without being exposed to the elements. So, if it’s raining, or you want to take grandma to the airport on a cold day, or you just want the convenience of going straight to the passageway, then now you know how to do it.

In the passageway, we found these same signs:

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
Don’t let these signs throw you off – these are the station elevators.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System
We found a couple of cases where the station English signs have already been changed. I wonder what it used to say?

We hope you have enjoyed our test ride of the KRT system. We’re looking forward to seeing it completed. It’s going to be a huge success!

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10 comments

    1. owshawng » HC and i will be in HK this week. i’m hoping to take some shots of their system for reference. it’s great living in the Hub of East Asia!

  1. Now that both Kaohsiung and Taipei having a convenient connection to the HSR, it would be really neat if you could use the same prepaid cards on both MRT and KRT. The turnstyles look different though, so I’m not too optimistic. In any case – this looks great, I’m looking forward to trying the KRT soon.

    1. cfimages » we were back in Kaohsiung on 2/23 and we found some of the stations still open for testing. they are serious about getting it up and running.

  2. Interesting and detailed review. I’m really looking forward to being able to use this system, finally. I told an old college buddy I’d visit him when the KMRT opened.

    The green looks horrid in the pictures; it’s too bad they didn’t get an interior decorator in there at some point. Unless it’s political decision to counter Taipei’s blue seats? It’s also too bad the cars are so loud; it’s been so long since the Taipei MRT opened you’d think they would have improved on that aspect at least.

    Poagao’s last blog post..Meh

    1. Poagao » i saw your comment about the green on flickr, and yeah that particular shade is pretty horrid, but at least the system is great. we were down there again and some of the stations are still open. we’ not sure but it seems as if they might be actually running the part of the system that is finished. thanks for reading TC.

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