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YuiRail wins customers but loses Y1.65 billion

Date Posted: 2007-09-21

Okinawa's monorail has steadily boosted ridership since its inauguration four years ago, but has lost •1.65 billion in operating costs.

Officials say thereís more support needed from government agencies, as well as promotion to lure people away from automobiles. They also cite the need for extending the monorail route to meet the needs of more citizens.

The monorail has nearly doubled its daily ridership since beginning service in 2003 on the route from Naha Airport to Shuri, winding its way through downtown Naha City. The first year, an average 34,700 used the monorail each day.

Expanding the monorail system to serve more of the central Okinawa area is being discussed, with several route extensions being considered. One would extend the monorail from Shuri Station to Okinawa Tall Road Nishihara, while another would take the monorail through Urasoe City.

Monorails across Japan are struggling, with only the Tokyo system making money. Officials say few generate profit because the routes often donít go close enough to destinations everyday travelers need.

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