Thu, Mar 25, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Taipei MRT malfunction strands hundreds at rush hour

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei MRT’s Wenshan-Neihu Line experienced another system breakdown during morning rush hour yesterday, causing a 33-minute shutdown between Nanjing E Road Station and Taipei Zoo Station.

The partial shutdown occurred at 7:56am because of a power outage at the Linguang Station transformer.

Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC) provided free shuttle buses for passengers starting at 8:03am and service resumed at 8:29am.

In all, seven trains stopped between stations with a total of 212 passengers on board. TRTC staff had to drive the trains back to the stations manually.

Taipei City Secretariat Deputy Director Tan Gwo-guang (譚國光) said the transformer cut the power connection after it detected abnormal electric currents, adding that the system’s manufacturer, Bombardier, would investigate the incident.

Affected passengers waiting in line to take shuttle buses complained about the frequent malfunctions on the MRT line.

“I will be late for work because of this. The Neihu Line has shut down so often that I am getting used to it,” a passenger surnamed Chang said in front of Taipei Zoo Station.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors criticized the city government, accusing it of having failed to improve the line’s stability and urged it to complete the refitting of 25 old trains as soon as possible.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Chou Po-ya (周柏雅) said system integration was a longstanding issue for the line.

The city government’s failure to refit the 25 trains on the Muzha Line to make them compatible with the Bombardier system on the Neihu Line is the main reason behind the frequent malfunctions, Chou said.

The Neihu Line, an extension of the Muzha Line, did not adopt the French-built Matra system used by the Muzha Line and was instead built by Montreal-based Bombardier.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Hung Chien-yi (洪健益) said the line has experienced more than 150 malfunctions or systems shutdowns since it opened on July 4 last year.

It called on the city government and TRTC to fix the problems as soon as possible.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) apologized for the inconvenience caused by the breakdown and said the city government would release stability reports on the line every month.

“I am not satisfied with the system’s stability, either. The line is not perfect and we will continue our efforts to stabilize the system,” he said.

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