Fri, Aug 21, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Bombardier blamed for MRT woes

‘FULL RESPONSIBILITY’ Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said that the company had already apologized and said the one who should apologize to passengers was him

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Passengers enter and exit the Neihu-Muzha Line at the Nanjing E Road MRT Station yesterday. Many passengers complained about the Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation’s announcement that it will stop traffic on the line through the whole weekend, starting 10pm tonight.

PHOTO: HUNG MIN-LUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday blamed the company behind the Neihu-Muzha MRT Line, Bombardier Inc, for failing to put enough effort into fixing the line, urging the Taipei City Government to demand the company abide by the contract and fix the system as soon as possible.

The Neihu-Muzha Line has experienced 58 malfunctions or system breakdowns since it began running on July 4. Bombardier’s systems division vice president Mick Franzetta visited Taiwan after the first system breakdown on July 10. However, the company failed to send chief project engineer David Anderson and his team members to inspect the system, DPP Taipei City Councilor Lee Chien-chan (李建昌) said yesterday at the Taipei City Council.

DPP Taipei City councilors Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) and Huang Hsiang-chun (黃向群) also condemned Bombardier for failing to explain the reasons behind the frequent malfunctions or to ensure system safety for MRT passengers.

“Since the line opened, all we get is apologies from city government officials and unclear explanations from them. Bombardier representatives never show up and offer an explanation,” Hsu said.

The councilors further ­condemned the city government for considering returning the Muzha Line to its original Matra system while suspending the Neihu Line for an inspection, and urged the city government to focus its efforts on making the Neihu-Muzha Line work.

“The Neihu Line cost NT$60 billion [US$1.8 billion] to build. It would be a terrible decision to give up on the line because of the problematic system integration,” Lee said.

In response to the councilors’ calls for Bombardier to offer a clear explanation and apology for the problem-plagued line, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said the company had apologized to the city government for the problems, and promised to spare no effort to raise the system’s reliability to 99 percent by mid-November.

“The person who should ­apologize to passengers is me, and I will take full responsibility to make sure the line will soon be running normally,” he said.

Taipei City Secretariat Deputy Director Tan Gwo-guang (譚國光), spokesman for the line, said there were 130 technicians from Bombardier’s Taiwan branch stationed at the line’s operations center, taking responsibility for system maintenance.

Hau promised that the city government would not give up on the Neihu Line. Switching the Muzha Line back to the Matra system and suspending the Neihu Line would be the last option and a temporary one to help stabilize the system.

“We are weighing the different options for stabilizing the system, but ultimately, the Neihu-Muzha Line will only run on a single system, and that system is the Bombardier one,” he said.

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