SRT attracts 8.9 million passengers
[THE INVESTOR] Super Rapid Train, a high-speed rail service, has carried 8.9 million passengers in the first six months of operations, the company said on June 12.
The bullet train entered into service on Dec. 9 last year, and through June 8, the average number of daily users marked 49,000.
SRT, operated by Supreme Railways, is a high-speed train that moves at up to 300 kilometers per hour.
Supreme Railways was launched to add competition to Korea’s railway systems, which had been monopolized by the state-run Korail for 117 years.
In the first month of service, a daily average of 43,870 passengers used SRT, which rose to 52,585 people last month, the company said.
“Except for March, a slow time of the year, the number of users has constantly increased and continues to rise at a stable pace,” Supreme Railways said.
On the increasing number of passengers, the service had posted earnings of 261.2 billion won ($231.1 million) as of last week.
The rising popularity of SRT is expected to contribute to the country’s railway industry, as SRT pays 50 percent of its sales as a track usage fee to the Korea Rail Network Authority.
KTX, a high-speed rail service managed by the state-run Korea Railroad, pays 34 percent of its sales in fees.
The Korea Transport Institute projected the track usage fee to total some 7.2 billion won this year, compared to 5 billion won in 2015, due to increased service.
Improved accessibility of high-speed trains for passengers living in the Seoul and southeastern capital regions is a key factor that has led the new rail service to garner popularity.
It takes an average of 29 minutes and 4 seconds for passengers in capital regions to get to a SRT station, whereas it takes about 32 minutes and 4 seconds to reach a KTX station, the KOTI said.
SRT also showed an outstanding on-time rate of 99.8 percent, based on International Union of Railways standards.
The most popular section was between Suseo, in southern Seoul, and Busan, used by an average of 7,470 passengers a day.
Suseo to Daegu followed with 5,911 passengers, according to Supreme Railways.
By Kim Bo-gyung/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)