Taipei-A Japanese woman became the 10 millionth passenger of the airport mass rapid transit (MRT) line between Taipei and Taoyuan, which has seen increased ridership in August because of the peak travel season and the Taipei Universiade.
Yuka Shimooka appeared in complete shock when cheers erupted as she passed through the gate at the MRT system's Taipei Main Station, her body language suggesting she simply wanted to be on her way rather than take part in any type of celebration.
But the overwhelmed teacher from Hiroshima was quickly calmed down by MRT staff and received a department store voucher worth NT$50,000 (US$1,653) for the milestone.
"Surprised! Surprised!" Shimooka told reporters, saying it was the first time she took the Airport MRT after some 20 trips to Taiwan.
Taoyuan Metro Corp. Chairman Liu Kun-i, who presented Shimooka her prize, said the Airport MRT line has seen a surge in passenger numbers in August, which is why the 10 million passenger threshold was reached about a week earlier than anticipated.
The line has transported about 57,000 passengers per day in August, up by about 3,000 passengers a day from July, Liu said.
The increase has come from strong interest in overseas travel this month and usage by foreign athletes and spectators traveling to and from different Universiade venues and the Athletes' Village in Linkou, among the destinations served by the line, he said.
The 51.03-kilometer line, which started commercial operations on March 2 this year, runs through Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan in northern Taiwan.
The plan to build an airport MRT was proposed about 20 years ago and construction of the line began in 2006.
Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council