Thu, Oct 05, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Bullet-train boss touts perfection, downplays time

DELAYS The high-speed train will be running by the next Lunar New Year, the corporation's executive director said at the launch of the official staff uniforms

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Models at a presentation in Hsinchu County yesterday wear the uniforms that have been created for workers on the nation's first bullet train.

PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

While the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) hopes to have the nation's first bullet train fully operational by the end of this month, the system still needs to be approved by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), former Taipei deputy mayor Ou Chin-der (歐晉德) said.

He said that the trains should be running over the entire route before the next Lunar New Year.

"Having it [the bullet train] launched in a perfect condition is better than having it launched on schedule," Ou said yesterday in his first meeting with the media since taking over as executive director of the THSRC.

Ou said that the company has been conducting test runs between various railway sections in the past few months, adding that selected groups of passengers have also been invited on board.

A trial period of one to two weeks will be held in which passengers will be invited at random from the public, although the system will have to pass the ministry's inspection before the trial runs could take place, he said.

"The purpose of the trial period is to make the public aware of the gradual improvement of the train service," Ou said.

He said timetables and ticket prices for the initial stage of official operation would be announced before the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the train could be opened to the public between Banciao (板橋) and Tsoying (左營) without having to wait until construction of the Taipei-Banciao line is complete.

Ou said that the company would conduct a test run between Banciao and Taipei today.

Ou made the remarks during a presentation at which the company displayed its new corporate logo, as well as the uniforms for station service personnel.

"We will start using the logo next week. ... It means that we are ready to operate and serve," THSRC chairwoman Nita Ing (殷琪) said at the presentation.

Ing said that the new logo was inspired by a waving banner, presented by nine short strokes in colors of apricot and grey, and was meant to convey a sense of great speed.

She added that the company had commissioned local fashion designer Jamei Chen (陳季敏) to create uniforms for nine different types of bullet train employees, such as train drivers, train crews, head of the train crews, clerks at the check-in counters and maintenance crews.

The uniforms feature apricot-colored details, in line with the corporate image. On average, each uniform costs around NT$10,000, officials said.

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