Mon, Jun 08, 2009 - Page 2 News List

MRT passes final exam

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) yesterday completed the final inspection of the Taipei MRT system’s Neihu Line without any major concerns.

After the inspection, officials said that there must be clear directions inside the terminals at Songshan Airport guiding passengers to Songshan Airport MRT Station before the Neihu Line begins operation and that Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station on the Blue Line must also have directions leading passengers to the Neihu Line or the Brown Line.

Chi Wen-jong (祈文中), director of the MOTC’s Department of Railways and Highways, said the Taipei City Government had yet to display these directions — for fear of confusing passengers.

“Because the Neihu Line has not begun operations yet, passengers might be misled by direction signs into believing that they can start taking the trains now,” Chi said. “We accepted their [the Taipei City Government’s] explanation. So we only asked them to meet this particular requirement the day before they open the Neihu Line.”

Chi said the department had requested the Taipei City Government to fulfill this requirement as well, adding that it needs no further confirmation from the MOTC.

The Taipei City Government can decide when it wants to open the Neihu Line, he said.

“It really depends on when they can finish all the necessary complementary measures,” he said.

Meanwhile, the MOTC also listed 13 items that Taipei Rapid Transit Corp should strive to improve and two other suggestions.

Chi said the company should continue to work on these 13 items, which do not compromise operational safety, such as increasing bicycle racks.

The two suggestions included inviting experts to examine the facilities for handicapped passengers and working to lower noise the trains generate when they cross overpasses.

The inspection began on Saturday when inspectors checked Songshan Airport Station and Wende Station.

Yesterday, inspectors gave Taipei MRT system staff several hypothetical scenarios from the traffic control center in Neihu to test how they would respond under various situations.

They first tested the system’s ability to dispatch trains in two-minute intervals.

One of the scenarios simulated an earthquake measuring five on the Richter Scale occurring as a train arrived at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center.

The staff guided the “passengers” to the closest exits and switched the system to manual operation mode.

The traffic control center also dispatched overpass maintenance personnel to check if there was any damage.

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