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Mayor: MRT Neihu/Muzha Line Suspension Requires Prudent Evaluation

In response to questions from the media about the handling of MRT Neihu/Muzha Line system problems, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin indicated that suspending service would be considered only if all other options were exhausted. He made the comments during a tea session with the press on August 13.

He pointed out that the city government has requested Bombardier to evaluate possible solutions to the malfunctions. According to the mayor, Bombardier’s Vice President of the Asian Region is in town and meeting with the staff of the Department of Rapid Transit Systems and Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (TRTC) to discuss possible strategies. He added that he has received a letter from the CEO of the company’s transportation department, expressing the willingness of Bombardier to resolve the system’s problems.

Before Bombardier submits an improvement plan, Hau said TRTC will strengthen its effort in ensuring the safety of passengers. Plans include assigning of additional staff to trains and machinery rooms as a preventive measure against possible malfunctions.

On the possibility of closing down the MRT Line for thorough inspection and repair, Hau replied that such action would be a last resort, because doing so will have a tremendous impact on the 100,000-plus commuters that takes the train on a daily basis. Such decision will also put significant pressure on the city’s traffic.

Hau said that according to the Department of Transportation, the city’s public bus system will not be able to handle all the passengers during rush hours if the MRT Neihu/Muzha Line closes down.

He admitted that it would be a hard decision, and would require a thorough evaluation beforehand. Based on the improvement plan proposed by Bombardier, the city government would evaluate all possible approaches – even halting the MRT Line if necessary and deemed plausible.