Kaohsiung Metro now accepting EasyCard, iCash, HappyCash

Taipei, July 1 (CNA) The metro system in Kaohsiung on Friday began accepting three other stored value cards, apart from its iPass, as part of the transportation ministry's efforts to make the use of such cards more universal.

Following a six-month upgrade of the turnstiles at Kaohsiung's 38 metro stations, passengers can now use EasyCard, iCash and HappyCash cards, in additional to the metro's iPass.

Meanwhile, iPass is also now acceptable throughout the Taipei Metro system, after a limited introduction last September.

With effect from Friday also, passengers in Taipei will be able to add credit to their iPass cards on the EasyCard machines.

The changes were implemented under an initiative by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to allow wider use of various types of stored value cards, particularly on public transportation systems such as city mass rapid transit (MRT), railway and bus lines.

Earlier in the week, Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said it had completed installation of card readers at all of its stations to accept EasyCard, iPass and iCash for payment of TRA train travel throughout the country with effect from June 28.

HappyCash and iCash, issued by the Far Eastern Group and Uni-President Enterprises Corp., respectively, are currently being tested in the Taipei public transportation system to allow discounts to passengers transferring between the MRT and city buses, Taipei Metro said.

When the tests are completed the two cards will be incorporated into Taipei's public transportation payment system, Taipei Metro said.

EasyCard and iPass were first created for the metro systems in Taipei and Kaohsiung, respectively, but have become accepted for small payments at many retailers throughout the country.

HappyCash has been used primarily by consumers at stores and other businesses operated by the Far Eastern Group, while iCash was launched for payments at 7-Eleven convenience stores in Taiwan, which are run by Uni-President. (By Wang Shu-fen and Kay Liu)