In an effort to revive plans to extend Taipei’s MRT Bannan Line to Keelung, the Taiwan City Competitiveness and Development Association held its “I love Keelung, I want a Nangang-Keelung MRT line” walkathon on Jan. 18, which started at Keelung’s Cidu Train Station with around a thousand people winding their way around the city until they eventually arrived at Taipei’s Nangang Train Station around noon.
The event started at Cidu Train Station and ended at Nangang Train Station, which is approximately a 14km walk. Although temperatures never reached 15 degrees Celsius, participants were undeterred and tried their best to show their determination, but for some people the walk was too strenuous and the organizer had prepared shuttle buses to transport people who could not make the walk.
Association president Lin Yu-chang and Democratic Progressive Party Keelung city councilors Shih Shih-ming and Hung Sen-yung were at the front of the team. Lin, who is running for mayor in Keelung, says that with 80,000 to 90,000 people commuting from Keelung to Taipei for work and school every day, Keelung is an indispensable part of Taipei’s metro rail network. Whether it is from the viewpoint of national infrastructure or promoting northern Taiwan’s development, linking Keelung with the MRT is a responsibility and mission that the government cannot evade.
In response to the event, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang, communicating through spokesperson Hsieh Yi-pin, says that a very cautious discussion and evaluation is needed with regard to extending the MRT to Keelung, and that it also needs to take into account opinions from all parties before a plan that best benefits Keelung can be made.
Taipei Department of Rapid Transit Systems Commissioner Tsai Hui-sheng says that currently there are no plans to extend the Bannan Line to Keelung. Personnel from Taipei’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems say that there is not any space available to extend the Bannan Line from Nangang Station and that it is unlikely that extending the line to Keelung would ever be considered.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)