The Asia Pacific Region is unquestionably the fastest growing region in the world this century. Taiwan plays an important role in this development. Kaohsiung, which boost of the busiest port in Taiwan, is the sunny ocean capital of Formosa. The remarkable economic transformation of Kaohsiung from a sleepy fishing village to an international container port however takes a toll on the transport infrastructure of the city. Trying to find a parking lot in this burgeoning metropolitan requires skills, patience and lots of luck. Rush hour traffic promises to be a real test of your nerves. This international trading hub is clearly in dire need of its own Mass Rapid Transit system (MRT).
A "Mass Rapid Transit System" will connect both north and south of Greater Kaohsiung area and opening up new possibilities between Kaohsiung and Pingtung. Not to mention the benefit of rationalizing urban planning and transforming the transportation system and living space of Kaohsiung.
Kaohsiung was elevated in 1979 to the status of a Yuan-ontrolled municipality. The Kaohsiung city's government, in January 1991, started to draft a comprehensive urban-improvement plan to boost the urban development and to tackle the traffic congestion and pollution problem. "Phase One Development Plan of the Mass Rapid Transit System of Kaohsiung Metropolitan" was approved by the Executive Yuan as a BOT project. The project was publicly announced and "KRTCO" was selected to carry out the project. The project was funded by both the government and the private sector. Both parties signed an agreement to work on the building and operation of the system.
As the gigantic machines of KRTCO dig relentlessly away, the dream of a modern city easily transverse by metro begins to take shape. It is hope of everyone that the new metro system will raise the quality of life and bring in new jobs. With KMRT, visitors can tour around Kaohsiung in one day!
The new 14.4-kilometer orange line is east-west bound from the Chong-Shan University of Hamasen Area (in the west) to Chong-Chuan of Da-Liao in Kaohsiung County (in the east). There are 24 stations along this line. Except for Da-Liao Station, all the other stations are built underground.
The Red Line is like an "urban dragon" that transverse the city from north to south. This red line starts in the south (Linhai Industrial Park) and goes through the center of Kaohsiung City to Ciao-Taou in Kaohsiung County. The total length of this line is 28.3 kilometers, of which 19.8 kilometers are built underground and 8.5 kilometers above-ground. The line has 15 underground stations, 8 above-ground stations, and a ground-level station with 2 depots. Once completed, the metro network will be the arteries of the city allowing commuters to crisscross the city with great ease. The KMRT system will also provide a forum for Kaohsiung city residents to express their artistic creativity.
The KMRT network will promise lots of excitements and scenic spots for tourists and residents alike:
1. Sunset at Hsitsu Bay ~ many local and international performers have performed at Hsitsu Bay. The "Hsitsu Bay Music Festival" is definitely a great musical treat not to be missed by party-goers!
2. Gourmet local foods in Qijin and Liuhe: After the concert in Hsitsu Bay, go to Qijin and Liuhe. Get off the KMRT and hop onto the "Super Bus" to Qijing and Liuhe. The seafood in Qijin is absolutely fresh while the Liuhe night market offers delicious local dishes. With the good cooking skills of the chefs, you will have the gastronomical experience of your life. Qijin ?seafood ?Liuhe ?local food ~ These places are always packed with people and aroma of food!
3. City Light Corridor ~ the perpetual light-up of City Light Corridor and Love River makes the city looks a magical wonderland by night. The City Light Corridor is the brainchild of nine artists. As the darkness falls, the lit walls, floors and art objects reflect magnificent lights while jazz music fills the air. The neon lights the river cast a charming and romantic spell. Along the river, there are art performances, city museum of history, film library, concert hall and membo lover cafe. These special public buildings and art performances are a part of the charm of the "Love River". We invite you to enjoy the beauty and elegance of the city along the river.
4. Culture and leisure ~ This area is famous for its cultural setting. Chong-Cheng Cultural Center, Kaohsiung Normal University, Elementary School and High School and Wu-Fu Junior High School are all located here.
After taking a ride on the orange line, we can switch to the red line to transverse Kaohsiung from north and south. Commuters will be able to take the Red Line to shopping areas, the lotus lakes, the art museum and the urban parks.
1. Shopping districts: This special economic and trade zone focuses on shopping districts of Daganpu, Xinjuichiang and Sando. The Roundabout that is located in the intersection of Chong-Shan Road and Chong-Cheng Road is the only intersecting station of the Red and Orange lines. Moreover, this circular station is unique in the design of KMRT. It provides a space for leisure activities and entertainment. People's huge spending power will advance private investments in the neighborhoods. This place connects the "warehousing and forwarding area" to the "core economic and trade area". This will greatly accelerate the development of the economic and trade area.
2. Scent of tea and lotus ~ enjoy the scent in the "lotus lake": a new station of KMRT ~charming~shining! The classical and magnificent Spring and Autumn Temple, Dragon and Tiger Tower, and Wu-Li Pavilion are located here, surrounding half of the lake. Take a walk along the lake and smell and scent of lotus. This area covers about 100 acres of land and water. We are planning to improve the facilities around the lane and outsourced the operation and maintenance to a contractor who could incorporate modern aesthetic ideas to bring back the glamour of this place. The most unique and classical leisure feature -scent of lotus and tea -is waiting for you!
3. Pamper yourself with art ~ Participate in many of the activities held by the museum of art: a festival of art ~brings the museum of art alive! Besides all exhibitions on different types of art creations, we need more campaign to sustain people's interest and passion. People can attend the painting exhibitions or painting contests here.
4. Urban park ~ "The capital of the forest" which occupies 90 acres of urban land used to be a waste dumping site. The park comes equipped with foot path, bath space, grass-skiing yard, open-space stage, a stadium, a camping and BBQ area. Total relaxation assured.
The construction work of the Red and Orange Lines officially commenced on October 30, 2001. The construction division drew up measures to minimize disruption to the public. For example, the public can see the real-time traffic condition of the construction site on the Internet. This helps reduce traffic congestion in the work area.
Current project status: The R3-R8 sections of the Red Line are connected and main structural works of the stations along the same section are completed. The project is on schedule to be operational by the end of 2006. Besides, the entire line of both lines will start their official operation in October 2007. By then (2007), the focuses of the KMRT development would be as the following:
1. We have to pay attention to use the existing Lingan loop-line to plan to the "light-rail rapid transit" to connect to Fengshan, an industrial area. The light rail is comparatively cheaper with shorter construction period. Light rails is proven to control the increase of cars and motorcycles, reduces air pollution and will definitely give Kaohsiung a fresh new look.
2. After the underground work of Kaohsiung Train Station is completed, we can lay "surface tracks" in You-Chang and Wu-Jia to connect areas such as the economic and trade park, Hamasen, Love River and Chai-Shan.
3. It is not financially viable to build a rapid transit system plying between Dao-Liao and Dapingding. A bus transportation system will be designed for this route.
4. "The art of KMRT Kaohsiung Station": The design of the stations will incorporate the local history and culture to bring out the distinctive flavor of each community. Different themes are developed with the local features. The art designs thus become a living space to appreciate "humanistic arts".
5. "Underground parking lots" should be built in the city center. This would solve the problem of parking and also increase people's willingness to switch to the rapid transit and subsequently generate higher revenue for KMRT.
6. We should set up a KMRT hotline. With this platform, KMRT can gather the opinions of Kaohsiung city residents and get feedback on service quality.
7. The Thai workers riot resulted in a series of scandals. This does not reduce the resolve of the people and KRTCO to continue with the construction. Nonetheless, KRTCO has recently set up a "public affairs office" that handles public relations to rebuild its image. Since the commencement of the construction, Kaohsiung City Council has constantly been overseeing different aspects of the project such as the budget, progress, quality, facility and security. In addition, a quick response team will be set up by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications of the Executive Yuan. More board members will be involved to understand and assist KMRT in issues such as work examination, capital efficiency, job-site management, security maintenance, quality review and assurance, the implementation of evaluation work and operation schedules.
The rapid transit system and the light-track rapid transit system will be integrated to the rest of the existing bus network. Commuters will no longer have to be fret about losing precious time in traffic jams.
Kaohsiung is poised to emerge as a world-lass metropolitan city after the completion of its Mass Rapid Transit system.
(Kaohsiung MRT Compotition Contest Award-winning articles thesis)