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Maokong Gondola operators adopting Hello Kitty to boost sales

2013/11/05 16:59:05

Taipei, Nov. 5 (CNA) Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. (TRTC) said Tuesday it will introduce the popular Japanese cartoon character Hello Kitty on its Maokong Gondola line to help attract more customers.

The Hello Kitty motif will appear soon on some of the gondola's carriages and at the stations along the line, which has been losing money since it resumed operation in 2010, said Ling Chi-yao, chief of TRTC's Media Relations Section.

The gondola, which connects urban Taipei and the famous retreat of Maokong, will also launch a series of events that will feature the bobtail cat cartoon in the hope of drawing more passengers, according to Ling.

The events will include charity garden parties centered on the Hello Kitty theme, he said.

"We want to take advantage of the 'cat' image to promote travel to the area," Ling said. "Maokong" literally means "cat empty" in Mandarin Chinese.

The decision to adopt the Hello Kitty theme resulted from a lingering deficit in the operation of the 4.03-kilometer gondola line, according to TRTC.

Established in 2007, the gondola suspended operation in late 2008 after its foundation was damaged during the typhoon season and it resumed services in 2010.

Since then, the gondola has lost NT$360 million (US$12.2 million) due to low travel volume and high maintenance costs, according to TRTC.

A one-way, full-fare trip costs NT$50 on the gondola line, which starts at TRTC's Taipei Zoo Station.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)
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