Transportation chief at odds with TRA on Taipei station gatherings

A ban on mass gatherings and sitting on the ground in the main hall of Taipei Main Station will eventually be lifted. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — A ban on mass gatherings and sitting on the ground in the main hall of Taipei Main Station will eventually be lifted, Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said Tuesday, in a rebuke of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA).

The TRA proposed Monday that the ban, imposed in February to curb the spread of COVID-19, should be maintained to allow a better traffic flow and preserve public order.

Preventing gatherings in the hall, including its use as a venue for special events, mainly affected migrant workers who often gather with friends at the station on their days off because it is spacious and air-conditioned.

The public space in the station should be shared among different groups as long as it is properly managed, Lin said on his Facebook page, and asked that such “groups” not be ostracized.

“We should treat foreign friends away from home to work or live in Taiwan the way we wish to be treated in other countries,” Lin said.

Lin said he has directed the TRA to move toward the gradual opening of the hall when “COVID-19 becomes more manageable,” without defining what that means. Taiwan has not reported a new COVID-19 case in the past 11 days.

The TRA has said it will review the matter based on that direction.

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