Fri, Jan 06, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Xinzhuang MRT line launched

POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT:Apart from making commuting easier and faster, the new line is expected to ease traffic congestion and aid the development of adjacent areas

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Passengers walk through the ticket gates at Fu Jen University Station for the first commercial journey of the new Xinzhuang MRT line in New Taipei City yesterday. Travel on the new line is free for the first month of operations.

Photo: CNA

The Xinzhuang MRT Line in the Greater Taipei region launched services yesterday afternoon, with trips on the new line free of charge for one month in celebration of the line’s completion.

However, the free fares apply only to passengers who use the MRT’s EasyCard for travel to one of the eight stations on the line, Taipei Rapid Transit Corp said. People who buy tokens for single rides will be charged the standard fare, it added.

The 8.2km new line, which took 11 years to build, extends from Daqiaotou Station in Taipei to Fu Jen University Station in New Taipei City.

The entire trip on the new line takes an estimated 24 minutes, cutting the travel time between the two points by at least half.

Some passengers on the inaugural ride said they were excited at the launch of the new line.

Taking the line from Sanchong Station to Fu Jen University Station yesterday morning, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) thanked local residents for their tolerance and cooperation during the long construction period.

They added that the launch of the service would also improve local traffic conditions.

“The launch of the Xinzhuang Line is a joint effort by construction workers and government staff, while the line would not have been completed without the tolerance and cooperation of local residents,” Hau said during the service launch ceremony.

Chu said the launch of the line would facilitate the development of adjacent areas. He said the city government would offer a free shuttle bus service for one month from stations to the nearby Danfeng and Huilong areas.

“MRT lines have a positive impact on local development and MRT construction is a path we must take. Now that we have overcome the construction challenges, I believe the line will benefit the public with the convenience it brings to our lives,” he said.

The new part of the Xinzhuang Line consists of seven stops: Taipei Bridge Station, Cailiao Station, Sanchong Station, Xianse Temple Station, Touqianzhuang Station, Xinzhuang Station and Fu Jen University Station.

The construction of two planned stations in Danfeng and Huilong are still being delayed because of continuous protests caused by concerns about damage to the nearby Losheng (“Happy Life”) Sanatorium, built in 1930 to quarantine leprosy patients. It is now a cultural heritage site.

The Losheng Youth Alliance, an organization made up of mostly college students calling for the protection of the Losheng facility, say the construction of a maintenance depot has caused landslides, which have resulted in cracks in the old buildings’ walls.

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