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First test on integration of Muzha, Neihu MRT fares well

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The trial integration of the Muzha line and the newly- built Neihu line of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system kicked off yesterday and fared smoothly, with all the testing results meeting expectations, according to Chang Chi-te, director of the Department of Rapid Transit Systems.

Chang said the integration test started from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with 11 trains undergoing test runs between Nangang Exhibition Hall Station of the Neihu Line and the Taipei Zoo Station of the Muzha Line. He said the test runs will continue today.

The tests are focused on the follow-up tracing of trains, safety distance between trains, normal operation of the entire lines, traffic barrier removal, utilization of spare support system, punctuality of train arrivals, and operation of engineering monitor center, etc.

Chang said that the Neihu line will kick off official operation by the end of June 2009, when people can travel from the Nangang Exhibition Hall station to the Taipei Zoo Station without having to make transfers.

After the integration of the Muzha Line and the Neihu line, it will be the longest MRT line, spanning 30 kilometers, in terms of medium transportation capacity. There will be 75 trains available for services along the integrated line.

According to Chang, the Muzha MRT line will be closed on seven consecutive weekends until Jan. 18 to allow for testing of the integration of the Muzha line and the Neihu line.

During the weekends, travel between downtown and the Taipei City Zoo by bus will take twice as long as travel using the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train, the Taipei city government reminded local residents Saturday, when service on the Muzha MRT line was suspended for tests.

Service will be suspended on Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, and 28 as well as the first four days of January and Jan. 11 and 18.

The system will be operating on Jan. 10 and 17, which are make-up days for the extended New Year's holiday.

The Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. (TRTC) will offer free buses at all Muzha MRT stations as an alternative to help riders overcome the inconvenience caused by the temporary halt in services.

The company reminded passengers, however, to give themselves more time for the bus ride because it will take longer than traveling by MRT.

Going from Zhongshan Junior High School Station to the Taipei Zoo Station, which normally takes 25 minutes on the MRT, will take nearly double that by bus, which is subject to a speed limit of 40 kilometers per hour.

TRTC Statistics show that 100,000 people on average use the Muzha MRT line every weekday and 70,000 people ride it on weekends.

According to the city department, the free bus service will follow two different routes, with the first riding on Jungong Road and the other following Xinhai Road.

Buses will run between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m. at an interval of one-to-two minutes at peak times and five-to 10-minutes during non-peak hours.

They only stop at MRT stations.

For more detailed information on the transportation situation, local residents can call (02) 2729 1181, (02) 2720-8889, or citizen hot line 1999.

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