Taoyuan International Airport MRT Line aims to turnaround massive losses within six years, said Taoyuan Metro Chairman Liu Kun-yi (劉坤億) on Tuesday.
Liu was responding to Taoyuan City councilors' questions of whether the metro would be capable of turning around substantial losses of NT$1.8 billion (US$59.66 million) accumulated since February this year.
Despite an average ridership of 56,000 people per day, the Taoyuan International Airport MRT Line bleed out NT$1.8 billion since it officially launched operations on March 2, the loss amounts to 60 percent of its original NT$3 billion capital.
City councilors of opposition Kuomingtang party Hsieh Chang-wen (謝彰文) and ruling Democratic Progressive Party councilor Fan Kang-hsiang (范綱祥) expressed concerns over the metro line's potential continual losses, and inquired the Taoyuan City government's appointment of Taoyuan Metro chairman and supervisor.
The Taoyuan City government injected NT$2 billion into the metro company, but only submitted a one-page report, councilors also scrutinized the high personnel cost listed of NT$600 million.
Liabilities totaled nearly NT$100 million in the financial report.
Councilors from Taipei City, which has a 6.67 percent stake in Taoyuan Metro, also voiced their concerns over the company's profitability.
Taipei City councilor Hong-Wei Wang (王鴻薇) questioned Taipei Metro has a daily ridership of 2 million people, and Kaohsiung Metro was only able to turnaround losses last year with a 180,000 ridership per day.
In contrast, how can the Taoyuan Metro's become profitable with 40,000 to 50,000 passengers per day, Wang asked.
The airport MRT line's massive loss of NT$1.7 billion was caused by six delays prior to its official launch, which the company is still seeking compensation from The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), said Liu.
To meet its target of turning around losses within six years, the MRT line ridership will need to be raised to 60,000.
Current ridership is already above the initial estimations of 46,000 people per day, noted Liu.