For Huang Ya-wen (黃雅雯), who uses a wheelchair, transferring from one line to another or getting in and out of the Zhongxiao Xinsheng MRT Station is a nightmare.
Passenger traffic at the transfer station for the MRT blue line and the Xinzhuang-Luzhou Line reaches about 17,000 during the 8am to 9am rush hour. However, the station has only one elevator, located in the middle of the platform. People who use wheelchairs, parents with strollers, passengers with luggage and even cyclists with their bicycles are often crowded around the narrow platform to get into the elevator, with the waiting time sometimes going beyond 30 minutes.
“One elevator is clearly not enough in such a big MRT station. Besides the long wait for the elevator, it’s very dangerous to move around in the narrow and crowded platform,” Huang said yesterday at the station.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Ho Chih-wei (何志偉), who joined Huang and several people who use wheelchairs to inspect the station, slammed the city government for the unfriendly environment for people with disabilities and called for improvements.
“Taipei City’s Department of Rapid Transportation Systems did not consider the needs of wheelchair users when designing the station. It should take full responsibility for the poor design,” Ho said.
Chiu Chao-ting (邱照庭), a division chief at the department, said the station was originally designed as part of the medium-capacity network of the MRT Nangang Line.
Passenger traffic at the station has increased sharply after the launch of the Xinzhuang-Luzhou line, but the department does not plan to install another elevator because it would affect the station’s overall design, he said.
Chiu said the department would consider expanding the elevator’s space to increase its capacity from 15 passengers to 24.
His comments failed to satisfy the group.
Shih Yung-mu (施雍穆), director of the Association of Spinal Cord Injury Taipei, said the department had never considered the needs of people with disabilities when designing MRT lines and stations.
With more MRT lines being built, he urged the city government to avoid similar problems and include disability-friendly facilities in the design of future stations.