Fri, Aug 14, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Hau considers halting entire Neihu-Muzha MRT line

GOOD SYSTEM DRAGGED DOWN Hundreds of thousands of commuters would be affected if the city government suspends operations on the MRT’s oldest line

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said the city government would consider suspending the ­Muzha-Neihu MRT line for a thorough inspection, acknowledging for the first time that problems on the system were bigger than previously thought.

“Taipei City’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems [DORTS] did not expect so many problems on the line and the situation is beyond what it can handle,” Hau said at Taipei City Hall.

Hau said the line’s system builder, Bombardier Inc, has sent its Asia region vice president to Taipei to address the frequent malfunctions on the overly sensitive system.

The company agreed to offer a comprehensive improvement plan and raise the system’s stability to 99 percent by mid-November.

In response to some experts’ suggestions that the line should be suspended for inspection, Hau, who had said halting the new MRT line was not an option, backtracked yesterday, saying the city government would discuss the possibility after Bombardier presented its improvement report.

“Of course [halting the line] will be our last resort because more than 100,000 residents in Muzha depend on the line to commute every day,” he said.

BLAME

Hau blamed DORTS and the contractor for the problems, saying that Tom Chang (常歧德), former DORTS director, had stepped down last week to shoulder the responsibility.

The line has experienced three system breakdowns and countless malfunctions since operations began on July 4.

DORTS and Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation are considering shortening the system’s operating time and conducting system inspections at night. Hau once again called on the public to give the city government more time to solve the problems facing the line.

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