Taipei vows to listen to public in MRT revamp

The China Post news staff

The Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) of the Taipei City Government promised yesterday to include commuters’ opinions when reviving certain lines of the mass rapid transit (MRT) network in the Greater Taipei region. Officials at the DORTS made the promise when clarifying a media report that the department plans to readjust the Zhonghe Line by separating it from the Danshui Line as now to hook up with the Dongmen (East Gate) Line by the end of this month at the earliest. Responding to questions raised by two lawmakers at the Legislative Yuan, they said that no final plan has been made concerning MRT service modifications. Legislator Lin Teh-fu of the ruling Kuomintang said the DORTS should first communicate and coordinate with residents in the district of Shuanghe — the twin cities of Yonghe and Zhonghe in New Taipei City — if it plans to connect the Zhonghe Line with the newly opened Luzhou Line as reported or with other lines. He said such a move will cause inconveniences for Shuanghe residents because those going to the Taipei Railway Station (which concurrently serves as Taipei Main Station on the MRT network) will be forced to change trains at Guting Station. Lin estimated that about half of the riders of Zhonghe Line, which has been in operation for more than 10 years, will be required to change trains Guting. He said the rights and voices of the large number of customers should not be ignored when the DORTS takes actions to modify the service lines in the MRT network. Lawmaker Chang Ching-chung, who is also a KMT legislator elected from the Shuanghe constituency, said the alteration of the MRT service affecting the Zhonghe Line will cause substantial impact on women and physically feeble elders and children who want to go to the National Taiwan University Hospital and the railway station. Tsai Tien-ho, deputy director at the DORTS, confirmed that his department has invited transport experts to discuss on possible revamping of certain MRT lines for maximum services. One possible option is to modify the train services connecting the Dongmen Line for more efficient services of the public transport system. Yet he stressed that no firm decisions were made yet. But he said that the DORTS will definitely engage in communications with residents in the Shuanghe area through holding public hearings to include opinions and suggestions from parties involved.