Transit officials disciplined
Six high-ranking officials with the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp were disciplined Sunday and yesterday for a New Year's Eve escalator accident that injured five passengers at an MRT station in Taipei. Tsai Hui-sheng (蔡輝昇), general manager of the rapid transit company, which is run by the Taipei City Government, received a major demerit from the city government's Department of Transportation for the accident, in which one woman fell and got her hair caught in the moving stairs, tearing off part of her scalp. The rapid-transit corporation was also fined NT$400,000 by the department. Five other rapid transit officials in charge of supervision, transportation and management were given minor demerits yesterday. The ruling was made after a probe into the escalator accident conducted by transportation department officials, officials from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and academics from three Taipei universities. Tsai and the other officials have been under mounting criticism since the Jan. 1 accident despite repeatedly apologizing to the injured and their families. In response to the ruling, Tsai said yesterday that he fully accepts the punishment and will review his and the rapid-transit corporation's ability to react to accidents on the MRT.
DPP reaches out to blues
To achieve inter-party cooperation and legislative stability, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is willing to compromise in the upcoming election for president and vice president of the Legislative Yuan, a DPP legislative caucus whip said yesterday. Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) explained that his party will act on the results of party-to-party negotiations, and that it may support a nominee of the opposition People First Party (PFP) to take the post of president of the Legislative Yuan if the talks lead to such a result. He noted that although his party will probably vote for a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate to head the new opposition-controlled legislature, they might back candidates from the PFP, with which the DPP has been trying to bolster party cooperation, if such an arrangement would benefit political stability.
Police start campaign
Police will launch a 40-day operation today beefing up law and order in the weeks leading up to the Lunar New Year holiday. During the first stage, which will run until Jan. 25, operations will focus on drunk driving, theft, burglary and robbery, police said. During the second stage, which will run until Feb. 19, operations will focus on improving public order and ensuring smooth traffic to ensure people have a happy Lunar New Year holiday, they said.
Right turns to be legal
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday said that drivers and motorcyclists will no longer be fined for turning right on a red light. Under current traffic rules, those who turn right on a red light can be fined from NT$1,800 to NT$5,400. The ministry said that it will no longer outlaw right turns and revise traffic regulations within the year. "Except for some busy intersections where right turns at a red light are explicitly prohibited, right turns on a red light will be permitted at all intersections," Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chang Chia-chu (張家祝) said.