CONSTRUCTION of the long-planned four-line metro in the Taiwanese second city Kaohsiung is set to get under way in 2001, with two routes totalling 42·7 km now expected to open in stages between 2004 and 2007. Kaohsiung has grown rapidly in recent years, and now has over 3 million inhabitants. The first two metro lines are to be built by the private sector under a build-operate-transfer concession, with the national government contributing up to 90% of the NT$195bn capital cost.

On January 28 Kaohsiung Metropolitan Government’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems appointed British-based engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald to act as technical consultant for the BOT process. Mott MacDonald will produce the technical documentation necessary for KDORTS to procure the private-sector participation in the project, including reference designs and specifications for system performance, operations and maintenance. The firm will also control the budget and schedule on behalf of the municipality.

The 14·4 km Orange line will run east-west from the National Sun Yat-sen University through the city centre to Ta Liao, with 14 stations. It will also include the main depot and operations control centre. The north-south Red line connecting Chiao Tou with Lin Hai industrial park will be 28·3 km long, with 23 stations and two depots. Connecting links will be provided where the two routes intersect, and with the future Blue and Brown lines.