Tue, Sep 18, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Taipei MRT shut down for a second day

By Kevin Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thinking about taking the MRT into Taipei today? Think again.

Taipei's mass rapid transit system is expected to be out of service for a second day today after Typhoon Nari flooded sections of the line linking Panchiao and Nankang.

But that's not expected to cause major headaches for the almost 1 million commuters who take the rails each day to jobs in the city. Government offices, schools and some businesses will remain closed today for a second day running.

"The whole MRT system was down today because of the typhoon. As for tomorrow's operations, it will depend on the extent by which the flood waters recede," said Lin Chi-yao (凌啟堯), a spokesman for the Taipei Rapid Transport Corp.

"Because the flood waters are still there and it will take time to make checks and repairs, we don't expect services will return to normal in the short term."

The only line of the MRT system to resume operation today will be the elevated Mucha Line, scheduled to start around 7am.

Lin estimated the service interruption would result in lost ticket sales of more than NT$30 million. The spokesman said he would keep the public abreast of any changes.

Typhoon Nari also interrupted most of the nation's domestic flights yesterday. Services are expected to return to normal today except flights departing from Taipei, according to domestic airlines.

Far Eastern Air Transport, which canceled all domestic flights yesterday, said it would resume most of its operations today after 10am.

But "because of heavy flooding on the tarmac at Taipei's Sungshan Airport, we won't resume domestic flights departing from Taipei until 12pm," said Chen Yun-chuan (陳韻全), a Far Eastern spokeswoman.

Chen Ting-chieh (陳定傑), a spokesman at Mandarin Airlines, said the company has decided to cancel Taipei-Taichung and Taipei-Kaohsiung flights scheduled before noon today, also citing flooding concerns.

But as of press time yesterday, UNI Airways wasn't able to say whether it would resume domestic flights for today.

Yesterday's heavy rainfall also caused the closure of most rail services along the west coast after the Taipei Railway Station was reportedly inundated by floodwaters.

"The underground platform at Taipei Railway Station was flooded yesterday and there are 28 places along the railway between Taipei and Sungshan and between Taipei and Ilan" that were also under water, said a Ministry of Transportation and Communications representative stationed at the Disaster Rescue Command Center. "There's no sign that railway travel will resume soon."

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