TAIPEI Rapid Transit Corp President Richard Chen confirmed in November that the city’s third metro line would open before the end of 1998. The 7·8 km Hsinchung line combines the northern half of the Hsintien (Green) line between the Main station and Kuting and the southern section of the Chungho (Orange) line from Kuting to Chungho.

This complies with Taipei Mayor Chen Shui-Bien’s goal of opening one metro line a year for five years. The Mucha (Brown) automated VAL line opened in 1996 and the first stage of the Tamshui (Red) heavy metro in 1997. Two further routes are currently under construction for opening in 1999 and 2000: the Nankang (Blue) line running east-west and the southern section of the Green line from Kuting to Hsintien.

Hsinchung line services will run through from the Tamshui line, with which it makes an end-on connection at the Main station. In preparation for the opening, TRTC revised its fare structure in November. The basic fare on any line will remain NT$20, but the maximum on the Tamshui line has been cut from NT$80 to NT$50. Holders of multi-ride stored value tickets will get discounts on each trip as well as end-of-ticket bonuses. Over the past two years similar promotions have pushed ridership up by 25% and increased overall revenue: the two routes are currently carrying around 177000 passengers/day.