Sun, Jan 09, 2005 - Page 3 News List

MRT Corp chief apologizes for New Year's Eve injuries


MRT travelers take the escalator down to a platform yesterday.


The head of Taipei's subway system yesterday offered his apologies for his mishandling of a New Year's Eve accident that injured five people, according to the Central News Agency.

"Since 2000, we've seen 200 escalator-related accidents. We will rethink the current policy of allowing passengers in a hurry to walk on the left hand side of the escalator," Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation President Tsay Huei-sheng (蔡輝昇) said. Tsay offered his apologies yesterday at a press conference that had been called after city government officials had looked into videotapes of the accident and heard the testimonies of the five injured passengers.

Five passengers were hurt on the escalators leading to platforms amid the crowds that packed onto trains headed to celebrations held around Taipei City Hall on New Year's Eve. Two people were seriously injured and the other three sustained minor abrasions. One female passenger's hair was caught in the escalator, causing her hair to be torn out and her scalp to be ripped in the process.

According to the corporation's safety regulations, escalators must be turned off if subway platforms become too crowded to prevent accidents. A surveillance tape from the evening of the accident indicates that transit employees failed to shut down the escalators as required.

Tsay said he would accept whatever decision a city investigation handed down, and that he planned to convene a meeting with the injured parties and the to discuss appropriate compensation. He also said that the erroneous reports the transit employees had given on the accident would be investigated. Despite testimonies given by the injured passengers indicating otherwise, transit employees had said that the platform was not crowded and that the injuries sustained had been minor. The woman whose scalp was torn by the escalator received over 100 stitches, but employees reported it to be about 10.

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