Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC) reported on 31 August it had made a profit of nearly Tw$2 billion (69.44 million US dollars) in the six months to June, its first since it began commercial operation in 2007. The railway company attributed the results to the continued increase in passenger numbers, a decline in interest payments on loans, and improvement of operation.
The company secured 12 billion US dollars in new funding last year as part of efforts to pay off earlier loans obtained at higher interest rates during the project’s construction phase.
An abrupt slowdown in Taiwan’s (China) economy has meant that the 280,000 daily passengers projected by government reports in the 1980s and early 1990s have now shrunk to around 110,000 per day. The 345-kilometre (207-mile) high speed rail system links Taipei in the north with Kaohsiung in the south using Japanese bullet-train technology. A build-operate-transfer (BOT) formula adopted for the railway charged the corporation with constructing and running the line for 35 years before handing it to the government