Easycard now set to be accepted on the Kaohsiung metro system
Taipei’s subway system will begin accepting iPass smartcards in September, but EasyCard holders will have to wait until next year to enjoy cashless travel on Kaohsiung’s metro system.
Easycard Investment Holding Co. Chairman Kenneth Lin said his company’s stored value EasyCard will be accepted by Kaohsiung’s metro system next March at the earliest.
Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp. promised that new card readers at the entrances of all stations will be ready next July at the latest, said EasyCard Corp., which is owned by the investment holding company.
If there are delays in the installation of new readers, EasyCard Corp. will set up EasyCard card readers at all stations in the Kaohsiung Metro at its own expense, the company said.
Taipei and Kaohsiung had been at odds over the use of their respective stored value cards for public transportation use. Each side has accused the other of restricting competition.
The EasyCard has been the dominant card in most of Taiwan, but Kaohsiung has tried to challenge its supremacy by rolling out the iPass and allowing only the iPass to be used on the city’s limited subway network.
At the same time, Taipei has not allowed the use of the iPass on the Taipei Metro system.
Under the new agreement, dedicated card readers compatible with all cards, including the iPass, will be installed at the spe- cial wide gates offering barrierfree access at the Taipei Metro system’s 117 stations beginning in September.
All automatic gates in the system will have card readers that can accept the iPass by July 2015, Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. said.
The EasyCard currently applies to a wide range of cashless payments, including Taipei Metro fares, bus services in major Taiwanese cities, regular railway and high-speed rail tickets, taxi fares, and small payments at designated stores.
Kaohsiung’s iPass can be used in similar transactions, but it is currently limited to the Kaohsiung subway system and its partner stores accepting small payments with the iPass are mostly in the southern city.