Thu, Jul 02, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Disabled riders complain about Neihu MRT’s cars

CRAMPED CONDITIONS Some physically challenged riders had a hard time moving their wheelchairs in the trains. Mayor Hau ordered special zones set up for them

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Parents’ Association for the Visually Impaired employment services counselor Lan Chie-chou, left, accompanied by his guide dog “Wish,” tries out seating on the new Neihu MRT line cars in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) promised yesterday to set up “disabled zones” in MRT Neihu Line cars after disabled passengers taking part in a free trial ride expressed concerns about cramped conditions.

Hau invited disabled groups to enjoy a free ride yesterday to experience the line’s facilities for the physically challenged.

Huang Chun-nan (黃俊男), an adviser to Cheng Feng-si Cultural and Educational Association, and former director of Taipei City Spinal Cord Injury Association Liu Yi-yun (劉逸雲), both encountered difficulties turning their wheelchairs around inside the cars during the ride.

Lan Chie-chou (藍介洲), who took his guide dog Wish onto the MRT, said the overall ride was good and most of the disabled facilities in the MRT were up to standard.

Lan said he was fine with the space inside the cars, but added that the volume of the announcement system was too low.

Hau demanded that the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC) set up special zones for the disabled inside the cars.

TRTC deputy chairman Sheng Chih-chang (沈志藏) said the company would try to comply with the order within a week or two.

The MRT Red Line and Blue Line are already equipped with zones for wheelchairs and bicycles inside the cars, he said.

Meanwhile, Neihu residents continued to complain about the noise of the line yesterday, urging Hau to improve the situation.

Hau acknowledged that the noise was a problem and promised to install additional sound-proofing equipment and discuss other noise-reduction measures.

The three-day free trial period for the Neihu Line ended yesterday. Several malfunctions occured in the system, but Hau promised that the operation of the entire Neihu Line was fully automated and that it was equipped with a top-of-the-line safety monitoring system.

Hau said the entire system would be thoroughly inspected and major problems will be weeded out as soon as possible.

The line officially opens on Saturday.

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