Xinyi Line opening brings more customers to local businesses

By John Liu ,The China Post

Businesses in close proximity to stations on the newly launched MRT Xinyi Line experienced significantly higher visitor traffic yesterday, and expressed a generally upbeat attitude about future business prospects. The newly constructed Xinyi Line in Taipei’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system opened for service yesterday. With good weather during the day, many people took the opportunity to try the new line. It is estimated that more than 180,000 people rode the new line by 5 p.m yesterday. The new line spans five stations, and Dongmen Station, which is close to the famous Yongkang Street commercial district and night market, recorded a particularly high uptick in travelers, resulting in more visits by shoppers to stores in the district. A popular beverage store said that visitors yesterday increased twofold, despite its location somewhat farther away from the MRT station.

Increased Visitor Traffic Evident: Ice Cream Stores A renowned ice cream store in the district launched a “20-percent discount with EasyCard” special. The store’s owner said that while business is usually better during holidays, the business yesterday was “still better than expected.” The line of people waiting for service seemed to go on forever. Although the store increased its operating tempo, customers still had to line up for 20 minutes on average.

The store estimated that 700-800 bowls of ice cream were served by 5 p.m. With mango ice cream its most popular dish, the store prepared about 360 kilograms of mango, double the amount prepared on normal days. The 20-percent discount special will last until Tuesday, and the store has prepared more mango in stock. Another ice cream storefront, which is located about 3 minutes by foot from Dongmen Station, said that as temperatures increased during the day, people began to line up to order between 1 and 3 p.m. Although the store expected the MRT line to bring more visitor traffic and consequently scheduled 20 staff per shift, it was still unable to meet demand. Customers had to wait up to 30 minutes to order. The store said that they launched a “buy one soft-serve get one free” special, which generated revenues four times of that during normal operation. The store estimated that it would serve more than 1,000 orders by nighttime.

Tonghua Night Market Benefits Most Another popular commercial district, Tonghua Night Market, is close to the Xinyi Line’s Xinyi-Anhe Station. Some predicted that the night market will benefit the most from the inauguration of the Xinyi Line, as the night market’s location away from public transit hubs had limited visitor traffic.

A steak restaurant in the district said that its customer base comprised mostly of locals, as few buses pass through the area. However, with the Xinyi Line going into service, the store is readying itself for a jump in customers, and has even prepared English menus, the owner said. Tonghua night market is renowned for its delicious food at bargain prices. Analysts estimated that the MRT will boost business in the district by 30 percent.