With an estimated 800,000 people expected to crowd Taipei City’s Xinyi District (信義) for the new year countdown party and Taipei 101 fireworks display tonight, the Taipei City Government yesterday called on the public to take advantage of public transportation and help to keep the venue clean as it aims to complete the clean-up before the New Year flag-raising ceremony at 6am tomorrow.
The annual countdown party will begin at 7pm in front of Taipei City Hall, featuring top pop stars, including Hong Kong singer Aaron Kwok (郭富城) and Taiwanese diva A-mei (張惠妹). President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) will join the revelers minutes before midnight and count down to the new year and 188 seconds of fireworks at Taipei 101.
In addition to the main venue at the plaza in front of Taipei City Hall and Taipei 101 Mall, several sites around the city are also recommended to enjoy the world-famous fireworks show, including Elephant Mountain and Tiger Mountain in Xinyi District that overlook Taipei 101, the Maokong area and Jiantan Mountain in Shilin District (士林).
Lin Yu-yi (林裕益), director of Taipei’s Geotechnical Engineering Office, said that the office has designed a “camera platform” on Elephant Mountain so camera lovers can take pictures of the fireworks show from the best possible angle, while urging the public not to set up camera tripods along the trails or on top of the mountains to compete for photography spots. The office has dispatched staff to remove tripods set up around the mountains with the assistance of the police, he said, encouraging the public to arrive at the mountains early today to find a good spot to enjoy the fireworks. Most shopping malls, restaurants and movie theaters in Xinyi District will stay open until 1am to keep the partygoers entertained after the countdown activities.
A three-phase traffic control will be imposed in the area, with Keelung Road, Renai Road, Kuangfu S Road, Zhongxiao E Road, Songren Road and Xinyi Road closed to all vehicles at 7pm. Taipei Rapid Transportation Corp will provide non-stop service on all MRT lines. Trains are set to run every 2.15 minutes at peak hours, Taipei City’s Department of Transportation said.
After the countdown party, 160 shuttle buses will be available to help passengers leave Xinyi District from 12am to 2:30am tomorrow. Passengers can take the buses at any bus stop in the area.
Taipei City’s Department of Environmental Protection also encouraged people to help keep the venue clean as it sets up 36 “moveable garbage cans” today to collect trash more quickly.
According to Chiu Kuan-hou (邱寬厚), a division chief at the department, more than 500 cleaning team members will join volunteers to carry the garbage cans around the venue to collect garbage, aiming to complete the clean-up work before 6am on Tuesday as the city prepares for the New Year’s Day flag-raising ceremony.
The countdown party and fireworks display left the city with 17.5 tonnes of garbage last year, he said, calling for the public to cooperate with the department’s efforts to reduce garbage and clean up the venue more efficiently.