The first phase of the Danhai Light Rail Transit system in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水) opened yesterday, with people being offered free rides for a month starting today.
A ceremony was held at the Tamsui District Office, with New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) taking guests on an inaugural ride.
The 7.3km-long tram line, called the Green Mountain Line, connects the Hongshulin MRT Station and Kanding Station to the north, and has a total of 11 stations. It is the first light-rail system in northern Taiwan.
Photo: CNA, courtesy of the New Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit Systems
It is part of what is to become a four-section rail network comprised of the Blue Seaside Line currently being built, as well as the Bali and Sanzhi lines, which are still in the planning stages.
The first phase of the Blue Seaside Line is to have three stations — Taipei University of Marine Technology, Shalun Beach and Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf — and is expected to be completed next year, the New Taipei City Government said.
The second phase would add six more stations along the Tamsui River — extending the line from the wharf to Tamsui MRT Station — it said.
The Danhai Light Rail Transit System is expected to cost NT$15.3 billion (US$496.37 million), the city government said.
It is part of the 1,748 hectare Danhai New Town project, which was launched in 1992 in a bid to attract 300,000 residents by 2036.
The Green Mountain Line has seven elevated stations and four ground-level stations.
The trams travel on rail tracks at ground level, but share the road with other vehicles and follow the traffic rules, such as stopping at red traffic lights, the city said.
The cars do not have automatic doors and passengers need to press a button to open them, it said.
The stations are decorated with pieces by artist Jimmy Liao (幾米), New Taipei Metro Corp said, adding that the cars are painted light blue and have large windows for sightseeing.
After the free-ride period is over, the trams are to operate every day between 6:30am and 10pm at 15-minute intervals, with fares ranging from NT$20 to NT$25, company general manager Wu Kuo-chi (吳國濟) said.
Passengers using stored-value cards would receive a 20 percent discount, the company said, adding that passengers could also use the NT$1,280 monthly pass introduced by the Taipei and New Taipei City governments.
Starting in June, nine mobile payment services would be introduced: Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, iPASS x Line Pay, Ali Pay, Union Pay, Garmin Pay, Fitbit Pay and Hami Pay, the company said.
The Danhai Light Rail Transit system is a joint venture by Taiwan Rolling Stock Co (台灣車輛) and German-based Voith Engineering Services, that has given Taiwanese transportation manufacturing companies the opportunity to be involved in the development process for the first time, Chu said.
The partnership seeks to facilitate technology transfers and create a supply chain and maintenance operations, he added.
The light-rail transit system could also create additional business opportunities worth NT$14.4 billion nationwide if adopted by other cities, New Taipei Metro Corp said.
The government hopes that by 2025 the nation will be able to manufacture more than half of the light rail components it needs.
The nation’s first light-rail system opened late last year in Kaohsiung.
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