Low traffic may have been the result of a general lack of publicity regarding the metro opening. It may also be due to the new section of track passing through Chenggong New District (呈贡新区), which is still relatively unpopulated despite several universities and government bureaus relocating there over the past three years.
Metro Line 1 begins at University City Station (大学城站) in the city's southern outskirts and currently ends at Xiaodong Village Station (晓东村站) near the now defunct Wujiaba Airport. From beginning to end the journey covers 22 kilometers and takes 34 minutes.
Although initial service through the metro's 12 stops was reportedly free of delays, there were some problems. Passengers told reporters they had difficulty with automated ticket dispensers not correctly recognizing the denominations of bills used for payment. Another concern was that train doors only open for 40 seconds at each stop, making it difficult for children and the elderly to board or detrain easily.
Metro authorities said these were exactly the sorts of kinks the trial period was instituted to identify and fix before approaching the line's estimated maximum capacity of 168,000 people per day.
Trains along Line 1 are currently running daily from 7am until 7pm. There have been no reports regarding whether these slightly inconvenient hours will be lengthened when the trial period concludes at the end of this year.
A Metro official surnamed Ma (马) said the completion date of the northern portion of Line 1 is set for early next year. When finished it will extend the currently operating southern section an additional 20 kilometers through downtown Kunming, ending at the North Bus Station.