The Taipei City Government yesterday dismissed allegations that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) complained about the ability of the city government to organize an emergency response to the problems plaguing the new Neihu Line.
The city government also denied allegations that Ma had compiled a question-and-answer list on issues relating to the Neihu Line and had demanded that the city government answer media inquiries according to the list.
Taipei City Secretariat Deputy Director Tan Gwa-guang (譚國光), who serves as the spokesman for the Neihu Line emergency response team, said Taipei City’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) prepared a question-and-answer list for him after the line experienced a system shutdown on July 10.
“The department compiled related information and gave it to me after the shutdown ... it is normal for a spokesman to prepare a question-and-answer list to answer questions from the press,” Tan said yesterday at Taipei City Hall.
A Chinese-language China Times Weekly story claimed that the list was drafted by Ma and finalized by DORTS Director Tom Chang (常歧德) because Ma was not satisfied with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) responses to media inquiries.
The Neihu Line has been a headache for the city government since it opened on July 4. It has experienced at least eight small malfunctions and false alarms, and the system shutdown on July 10.
Hau has apologized to the public over the system’s instability and formed an emergency response team to handle the crisis.
The city government also asked Tan to meet with the press twice a day to answer any questions related to problems with the Neihu Line.
Tan yesterday brushed off allegations that Ma was behind the question-and-answer list and said the city government was focusing on efforts to stabilize the system.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors have said Ma, Taipei City mayor when the construction of the line began, should be held accountable for making bad decisions that were responsible for the current problems.
A survey released by the DPP yesterday showed that 55.8 percent of respondents believed the Neihu Line should not have been built as a medium-capacity line and 66.5 percent of respondents disagreed with Hau’s claim that Ma had nothing to do with the problems.
The survey was conducted by phone and collected 837 samples.
It showed that 45.8 percent believed human error and possible graft was the cause of the problems.
The survey also showed that 50.7 percent said they were not confident that the Neihu Line would enjoy 90 percent reliability before November as Hau has promised.