Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) chairman Ou Chin-der (歐晉德) yesterday said that his work on Sean Lien’s (連勝文) Taipei mayoral bid would not interfere with or conflict with his job.
“I will devote most of my attention to the high-speed rail system. It is my top priority,” he said.
Ou’s appointment as general consultant to the campaign of the Chinese Nationlist Party (KMT) hopeful came after a malfunctioning electrical system disrupted rail operations last weekend.
That led Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) to reminded Ou that he should be focusing on improving the rail line’s operations.
Ou said that he was recruited by Lien’s campaign to offer advice on Taipei’s development, pointing to his almost four decades of experience in construction and urban development.
He said he was willing to give advice that is in the best interest of the city, but his role as advisor will not be allowed to interfere with his responsibilities at THSRC.
He defended the rail system’s operations, saying that it has performed exceedingly well given the frequent earthquakes and typhoons that batter the nation.
From 2007 to last month, the average train delay time was 0.25 seconds, he said.
“The signaling system warns us when certain conditions occur, which means we have to stop and check our systems. We cannot take chances,” Ou said.
“We know that this causes some inconvenience to passengers, but we will continue to improve,” he said.
Ou made the comments after THSRC signed a contract with Great Way Development Co to develop the areas near the Hsinchu Station.
THSRC said that the deal on the land near Hsinchu Station would allow for the construction of a “Lifestyle Center,” which would include a movie theater, restaurants and a shopping area, along with a park outside the center.
The company said it is investing NT$800 million (US$26.4 million) in the project, which is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of next year.
The design of the center’s four-story main building will incorporate elements that remind people of Hsinchu’s characteristics, such as the strong winds that blow through the city, while the movie theater would have eight screens, the company said.