Thu, Mar 18, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Taipei extends discount on Wenshan-Neihu Line

‘REASONABLE’As long as compatibility tests are being done on the line, passengers will continue to get the 36 percent discount. The cost? NT$200 million

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei City Government yesterday announced it would extend its discount policy on the Wenshan-Neihu MRT Line until the contractors complete the compatibility tests for the line’s older trains and confirm the line’s safety.

Passengers using EasyCards on the line will continue to receive a 36 percent discount until sometime next year, when the compatibility tests are scheduled to completed, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said at Taipei City Hall.

“The stability of the Wenshan-Neihu MRT Line has been greatly improved, but we should continue to compensate passengers for the system’s troubles until the service quality reaches 100 percent,” he said.

The plan is expected to cost Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC), the system’s operator, NT$200 million (US$6 million) per month. The discount will save EasyCard users up to NT$3.4 per trip, according to Tsai Hui-sheng (蔡輝昇), general manager of the TRTC.

The city government decided to extend the discount period after Taipei City’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems failed to complete the compatibility tests for 25 older trains by Feb. 24 after refitting the trains from the Muzha Line to make them compatible with the Neihu Line’s Bombardier system.

Hau blamed Bombardier for failing to meet the schedule and complete the tests, and said the discount period will last until the tests are completed.

The Wenshan-Neihu Line, an extension of the Muzha Line, did not continue with the French-built Matra system used on the original Muzha Line, and instead had a system built by Montreal-based Bombardier.

The city government first offered the 36 percent discount on the line from July 25 to Dec. 31 last year, amid frequent malfunctions. It extended the discount period to June 30 this year to compensate passengers.

Hau dismissed concerns that he gave the extension of the discount as a bribe to voters for his re-election bid in December’s Taipei mayoral election, and said it was “reasonable” to continue the compensation plan as the quality of the line has not met the public’s expectations.

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