Zhongxiao bus lane to be demolished: Ko

By Chi-hao James Lo ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (�_����) announced yesterday, that the widely criticized Zhongxiao West Road Bus Priority Lane will be demolished. The demolition of the bus lane was one of Ko’s main platforms during the Taipei mayoral election, whereby the new mayor stated that the removal of the problematic lane would be the first thing he would do. The lane was constructed by President Ma Ying-jeou during his tenure as Taipei mayor. Reportedly, the lane was constructed at a cost of NT$33.4 million, to accommodate the fact that both Zhongxiao East Road and Zhongxiao West Road serve as one stretch of Taipei’s busiest bus roads. However, the lane on Zhongxiao West Road was never activated even after Ma ended his time as Taipei mayor in 2006. The majority of the grassroots demographic condemns the lane, stating that it occupies a large amount of space for no purpose, and that it is one of the biggest obstacles responsible for the road’s daily traffic congestion.

A population of the said demographic have stated that the lane was not removed by former Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (�q�s�y) due to concerns over a possible conflict with Ma. During an interview yesterday, Ko said that to construct a new political culture, he must be black and white about what is right and what is wrong. The lane has remained idle for the past 8 years Ko said, which means that the project was obviously a pointless mistake, which is why it must be removed. Removal of the bus lane has reportedly been estimated to cost the city around NT$3 million to NT$4 million. Ko also said that he plans to remove the overhead pass near Beimen by February of 2016 as well, and will reorganize traffic west of Taipei Main Station. The traffic organization and removal of traffic lanes are also reasons why the Zhongxiao West Road bus lane must be removed. Taipei City Deputy Mayor Charles Lin (�L�ܺa) has been tasked with the related responsibilities, Ko said, and will communicate with Taipei’s Department of Transportation, Police Department, Public Works Department and other related departments to remove the problematic bus lane as soon as possible.

Hau Responds to Zhongxiao West Road Demolition In an interview yesterday, former Taipei City Government spokesman Chang Chi-chiang (�i���j) iterated Hau’s response to Ko’s decision, stating that the former mayor respects the decree of the new mayor, but reminded that Ko’s directives would eventually be assessed by the general Taipei public. Chang also said that Hau had thought about removing the said lane himself three times during his eight-year tenure. However, the former spokesman said Hau decided against the idea after evaluations from the Department of Transportation. The former mayor also cited consideration for the Taipei Bus Transit Station that is located on Zhongxiao West Road and the upcoming Taoyuan International Airport MRT Line as reasons to keep the lane.