The Taipei MRT system’s new Xinyi Line — the city’s second east-to-west route after the Bannan Line — was set to begin operations this morning following eight years of construction. The service will be free of charge for EasyCard holders until Dec. 23.
The 6.5km-long line, which includes seven stations: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Dongmen, Daan Park, Daan Station, Xinyi Anhe, Taipei 101-World Trade Center and Elephant Mountain, integrates with the Tamsui Line and allows passengers to travel directly between Beitou and Elephant Mountain stations in about 35 minutes.
Passengers who use an EasyCard will also get a 30 percent discount when traveling between the Chungho Line and part of the Tamshui Line between National Taiwan University Hospital Station and Beitou Station.
With a total budget of NT$39 billion (US$1.3 billion), the Xinyi Line is the second-most expensive MRT line in Taipei following the Chungho Line.
The completion of the line is hoped to ease traffic congestion on Xinyi Road, and the city expects MRT ridership to reach 1.9 million per day with the line in operation.
The new line is expected to ease the flow of passengers on the Nankang Line by about 11 percent and reduce passenger flow at Taipei Main Station by about 19 percent.
In celebration of the completion of the line, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday took a ride from Daan Park Station to Elephant Mountain Station to experience the service before its official launch.
Ma, who oversaw the construction of the line during his term as Taipei mayor, said the city has an ongoing policy for expansion of the MRT network, and every mayor has made efforts to contribute to it. He expressed his gratitude to Taipei citizens who have tolerated traffic congestion during the construction work and expected more MRT lines to be launched to increase the city’s public transportation coverage.
“I feel like an old solider who has returned home after being away for years and I am excited to witness the city’s achievement,” he said.
Hau said the city plans to open the MRT Songshan Line next year, and to begin construction on more MRT lines, including the MRT Minsheng-Xizhi Line and the MRT Wanda Line.
Taipei City’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems created different artistic themes for the seven stations on the Xinyi Line. For example, the Daan Park Station is a green building with an open garden inside the station featuring fountains, trees and artwork from the public.
The line was to dispatch its first train at 6am today. Music performances and other celebration activities are scheduled to be held at Daan Park Station throughout the day.