Tue, Dec 31, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Taipei braces for New Year’s Eve crush of revelers

SAFETY FIRST:Authorities in Taipei are aiming to make the celebrations safe with a raft of measures, including running the MRT lines for 42 hours and providing buses

By Wu Liang-yi, Fang Chih-hsien and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters and staff writer, with CNA

Amis women rehearse an Aboriginal dance yesterday to promote a New Year’s Day dawn event to be held at the East Coast National Scenic Area’s Sansiantai Recreational Area in Chenggong Township, Taitung County, from 4am to 7am tomorrow.

Photo: Chang Tsun-wei, Taipei Times

All of the Taipei MRT’s lines will run for 42 hours non-stop beginning today to cope with the large crowds of revelers expected to pack the area surrounding Taipei 101 to ring in the New Year.

The Taipei City Government’s Department of Information and Tourism forecast that about 1 million people would join the countdown celebrations this year.

To avoid overcrowding at MRT stations near the skyscraper, people traveling from New Taipei City’s (新北市) Banciao (板橋), Sinjhuang (新莊) and Lujhou (蘆洲) districts are encouraged to take the Bannan Line, while those traveling from Tamsui (淡水), Sindian (新店) and Jhonghe (中和) districts are advised to take the new Xinyi Line.

Trains on the Bannan and Xinyi lines are set to arrive every 2.5 and 3.5 minutes respectively at peak hours.

Passengers traveling after 7pm today may need to disembark at stops before or after MRT Taipei City Hall Station and the MRT Taipei 101/World Trade Center Station, and head to their destination by foot.

After the countdown party, people are advised to leave Xinyi District (信義) from the Bannan Line’s Yongchun (永春) and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall stations, the Xinyi Line’s Xinyi Anhe Station and the Wenhu Line’s Liuzhangli Station.

The Taipei City Public Transportation Office also plans to dispatch 141 shuttle buses traveling on five different routes from midnight to 2:30am tomorrow morning to help disperse the crowds.

Meanwhile, Taipei Rapid Transit Corp said it might shut the escalators at some of the stations to prevent an accident that took place on New Year’s Eve 2004 from recurring.

It was referring to an incident that occurred at MRT Taipei Main Station, in which a woman’s hair was torn out and her scalp partially ripped off after she tumbled down an escalator packed with people heading to the celebrations.

Taipei City Hospital neurologist Yan Sui-hing (甄瑞興) said that smartphone users should be extra careful when sending greetings to their friends on New Year’s Eve while walking in large crowds, since many people tend to ignore their surroundings as they walk while using the devices.

As for the climax of Taipei’s countdown party this year, Taipei 101 spokesman Michael Liu (劉家豪) said that about 24,000 rounds of fireworks are to be launched over 218 seconds at the Taipei 101.

The fireworks are to be ignited by a laser beam fired by a 4m-tall sculpture of comic book superhero Spider-Man in front of Taipei City Hall.

In the south of the country, the Greater Kaohsiung Government is to impose a three-stage traffic control plan for roads to E-Da World, which is expected to attract more than 500,000 revelers this year.

The first stage of traffic controls are set to begin at 6pm today and will regulate the number of automobiles entering the theme park.

Between midnight and 1:30am tomorrow morning only shuttle buses and motorcycles will be allowed to leave the park, while larger vehicles will be permitted to exit after 1:30am.

In an effort to cope with the potential surge in demand for parking spaces, the theme park has designated three locations in the city’s Renwu District (仁武) as free parking areas from noon today.

It also plans to provide 50,000 additional parking spaces for motorcycles in the area and to increase the number of shuttle bus services.

The highlight of the theme park’s countdown party this year is a firework display that is set to last 520 seconds.

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