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President Ma promotes Taichung's popular new bus rapid transit system

TAIPEI -- President Ma Ying-jeou touted the new bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Taichung Sunday, describing it as being designed by professionals to attract people to use mass transport tools.

Since the system began running on a trial basis in March, the number of public bus users in Taichung has surged 25-fold, Ma said while stumping in the central city for ruling Kuomintang (KMT) candidates in the year-end mayoral and city councilor elections.

Ma doubles as chairman of the KMT, whose candidates include incumbent Taichung Mayor Jason Hu, who is seeking reelection.

The president also promoted the BRT service, which went into formal commercial operation Aug. 17 as an extension of Taichung's planned mass rapid transit system.

“Where the planned metro cannot reach, there will public buses,” he said, noting that apart from the current BRT line, there will be five others in the future to complement the metro system, which is in the early stages of development.

Although the new public bus service has drawn some criticism, Taichung citizens have nonetheless swarmed BRT stations, lining up to take the buses, which Ma described as “Taichung citizens casting their ballots with their feet.”

However, some opposition Taichung city councilors have blasted the BRT system, accusing it of causing traffic chaos in the busy downtown area.

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