Fri, Jul 24, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Councilors accuse TRTC of lying

NOT TRUEThe DPP councilors said the TRTC report's claim that all passengers had been evacuated from the Neihu and Muzha lines by 4:16pm on July 10 was a lie

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday accused Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC) of lying in a report on the emergency response to the shutdown of the Neihu and Muzha MRT lines on July 10.

The councilors demanded that the city government give a clear account of the response to the emergency.

The shutdown, caused by a power outage, forced about 700 passengers to walk along the tracks to nearby stations.

TRTC later apologized for the inconvenience, but insisted the company had followed standard procedures and had evacuated all passengers by 4:16pm.

TRTC’s report released on Tuesday said trains came to a halt at 3:27pm. The company then made an announcement asking passengers to wait inside the cars at 3:44pm after failing to restore power.

EVACUATION

Staff cut off the high-voltage power system and started evacuating passengers at 3:47pm. All passengers were evacuated by 4:16pm, the report said.

DPP Taipei City councilors Hung Chien-yi (洪健益) and Yen Sheng-kuan (顏聖冠) said TRTC lied in the report and demanded that Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) make public the results of an investigation into the power outage and the company’s standard operating procedures within a week.

Hung said two passengers had said that no staff from TRTC had come to help them, leaving passengers to force open the doors of the cars and walk to the nearest station without any guidance.

Hung and Yen showed copies of two passengers’ blog entries on their experiences. The passengers said in two separate blog entries that they had forced the doors open at 4:14pm, but no staff showed up to help until 4:24pm.

“It’s clear that TRTC did not follow its standard operating procedures and even lied about it. The report is fabricated to protect the Hau administration and former mayor Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九],” Hung said at the Taipei City Council.

LIVES ENDANGERED

Yen said TRTC had endangered the lives of passengers with its slow response and urged the city government to present an honest report on what happened.

“TRTC left passengers waiting inside cars, not knowing what was happening. What if the passengers had opened the doors and walked onto the tracks before the power was cut?” she said.

Cheng Ming-shin (鄭銘興), director of TRTC’s medium-capacity system department, said the report was accurate.

“All passengers were evacuated after the power was cut off. We double-checked the information before putting it in the report,” he said.

Three trains stopped between stations on July 10 — two between Zhongshan Junior High School and Songshan Airport stations and another between Gangqian and Wende stations, Cheng said.

Staff opened most of the doors for passengers, but some passengers did open doors themselves, he said. However, staff were present to guide them to the nearest station.

On July 10, TRTC declined to comment on another train that Taipei Times reporters saw stopped between stations.

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