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Taipei City Hall Bus Station to open in Aug.

The Taipei City Hall Bus Station is scheduled to begin operations next month to help move at least 10,000 commuters each day and reduce the transport load at the Taipei Bus Station (TBS) adjacent to the Taipei Railway Station.

Officials at the city government said the new bus station is integrated with the complex composed of the City Hall Station of the Nangang mass rapid transit (MRT) plus a new hotel and a department store.

There will be 19 bus routes fanning out to major cities and townships in northern Taiwan and a selected few in southern part of the island.

Officials said formal service can be launched in as early as Aug. 5.

The new bus terminal will enable MRT commuters to go directly to the City Hall without being exposed to rains or baking sun.

People can also shop at the Taipei Hankyu Department Store invested in by the Uni-President Enterprises Group.

The store, the second after the one opened in southern Kaohsiung City in 2007, will open for business in October. It will have nine levels, including two underground, occupying floor space totaling 8,000 ping (one ping equals to 36 square feet).

The shops on the B2 floor are expected to extend service hours in the evening to cater to bus riders and commuters that take the MRT line.

Senior executives at Uni-President Enterprises have set an aim to raise the annual revenues of the store to around NT$5 billion a year, about the same scale of the A8 Hall store of the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store located also near the City Hall and the Taipei World Trade Center.

Hankyu Hanshin Department Stores, Inc. of Japan provided technical assistance without capital injection. Visiting executives from the Japanese company said they have not ruled out possibility of expanding business cooperation with the Taiwan partner.

In addition to the 10,000 bus riders, the total number of people going through the bus station complex could increase to about 100,000 every day.

Executives of firms with operations in the Xinyi Commercial Zone welcomed the joining of a new department store that can attract more people to the area in eastern Taipei.

But they also expressed concern that the the busy transport service could become a major challenge to transport officials and companies.

City government officials said the ultramodern transport monitoring facilities will significantly increase the operation efficiency to ensure the maximum traffic flow at the complex.

President Ma Ying-jeou visited the Taipei Bus Station (TBS) in the companionship of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin. This bus station, opened in August last year, is now serving about one million bus commuters each month.

The city government worked out the plan to build the TBS and the Taipei City Hall Bus Station when Ma served as mayor of the city.

Hau has invited Ma to join the opening ceremony for the new bus station at the City Hall next month.

The following moves will include building another bus station in Nangang District to help move more commuters taking short- or medium-distance buses connecting Taipei and outlying areas.

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