Students protest campus scooter ban

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Feb 02, 2001 - Page 2

Twelve student representatives from National Taiwan University (NTU,台灣大學) yesterday petitioned the Taipei City Government, asking it to intervene in the university's recent decision to ban motorcycles on one of the campus roads.

They hoped that the action by the city would temporarily halt the university's decision, which went into effect yesterday.

The school planned to ban motor scooters on Choushan Road (舟山路) to make way for a 1,200m boulevard on which pedestrians and motor vehicles will be allowed.

"What we're after is not only the number of parking spaces available on the road but the safety of the entire student body. What we're fighting against is not the development plan but how the school has handled the matter," said Chiu Yu-fan (邱羽凡), spokesperson of the Action Alliance of the Right of Choushan Road (舟山路權行動聯盟).

In addition to asking for a temporary halt on the ban, the group also requested the school hold public hearings to take students' concerns into consideration.

Although officials from the city's Bureau of Transportation (交通局) accepted the petition yesterday, they did not make any promise, but did express empathy with the group.

"I'm afraid that they [students] just need to try again and again to communicate with the school authorities," said Chen Shyue-tair (陳學台), a transportation bureau official. "I believe it [the school] must have legitimate reasons to make such a decision."

Lin Po-yi (林柏儀), another spokesperson for the alliance, said that they were very disappointed with the school authorities over the matter.

"They simply ignored our requests. Don't they know that we're forced to put our lives on the line when we have to park our motor scooters outside of the campus where the traffic volume is so overwhelming that it poses a dramatic threat to our lives?" he said. "Besides, it's just not fair to allow motor vehicles to enter and park on Choushan Road while motor scooters are not [permitted]."

Lin said that the students switched their focus to the city government because they were disappointed with the central government.

"When we petitioned the Ministry of Education (教育部) on Jan. 18, they told us that there was nothing they could do because they had to respect the autonomy of the school authorities," he said.

"They even told us that we were still running the risk of having car accidents elsewhere no matter what."

Chang Kuo-pao (張國保), deputy director of the ministry's Department of Higher Education (高教司), admitted that he did make such remarks.

"But I also told them that it's a better idea for them to take the public transportation system," Chang said. "It's just inappropriate for us to step in to tell the school authorities what to do except when there's something seriously wrong."

Chao Yung-mau (趙永茂), director of school affairs at NTU, said that it was now impossible to overturn the decision approved by the school board.

"You know what, I don't think they [the alliance] really care about the interests of the entire student body. They are doing this just to try to garner more votes for the upcoming election of the student union," he said.