CONSTRUCTION of the long-planned metro network in Taiwan's second city is set to get under way by the end of this year, following the award of a NT$172·3bn contract on May 10. The Department of Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit has selected a consortium led by local steelmaker China Steel. Other partners are Siemens Verkehrstechnik , China Development Industrial Bank, Ta Chong Bank and Taiwanese civil engineering contractors. The consortium was preferred to a rival bid from a group led by Hong Chung Construction which included Bombardier.

China Steel and the local contractors will be responsible for civil works and the supply of track and overhead wiring. Siemens will provide electrical and mechanical systems, including the rolling stock and signalling.

Kaohsiung mayor Frank Hsieh welcomed the deal, which should see the trains running in 2005, almost 15 years after the metro project was first approved by the city (RG 3.99 p133). DKMRT director Chou Lie-liung admitted that the contract award was only made possible by a compromise agreement with city councillors, who had rejected a proposed NT$192bn budget last year. Substantial penalty clauses have been included in the contract to protect against future political uncertainty.

  • Taipei's Department of Rapid Transit Systems has launched a study into proposals for a heavy metro line to the northeast suburb of Neihu, which was originally to be served by an extension of the Mucha mini-metro line. Meanwhile, Alcatel and Taiwanese electronics firm MITAC have been selected to provide a US$30m contactless smart card ticketing system for the Taipei metro and 14 local bus companies by the end of 2001.