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September 26, 2017

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New congestion-easing Taipei MRT station opens doors

TAIPEI -- A new mass rapid transit (MRT) station that was inaugurated early on Sunday began functioning and diverting heavy traffic from the busy Taipei Main Station, the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. (TRTC) stated.

Around 2,100 people exited from Dongmen Station, which links the Zhonghe and Xinzhuang lines, within four hours after the station was opened at 6 p.m., the TRTC pointed out.

With the opening of the Dongmen Station located near the Yongkang shopping area, traffic at the Taipei Main Station dropped by half.

As of 10 a.m., 12,000 passengers had transferred at the main station, while some 7,700 commuters switched trains at the Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station, up from 6,100 a week ago, TRTC data indicated.

Some 8,100 persons transited at the Guting Station, an sharp increase of 6,200 from last Sunday.

Currently, the Taipei MRT Main Station offers passage to around 560,000 commuters on a daily basis, 260,000 of whom transfer to other trains, resulting in overcrowding at the station, the TRTC said. Introducing the facility for "transferring at multiple stations" was the only solution for the problem, the company noted.

Passenger traffic at the Taipei Main Station was expected to drop by an estimated 32 percent after the opening of the Dongmen Station, it added.

Commuter traffic at the Guting Station, which replaced the Taipei Main Station as a transfer station for passengers departing from stations along the Zhonghe Line and transferring to the Danshui Line, also surged, the TRTC pointed out.

The Yongkang shopping region also saw a swelling in the number of visitors before noon, most of whom were local residents, the Yongkang Ward Chief Huang Hsueh-kuei said.

Huang was positive about the business opportunities that the new MRT station would bring to the area, saying that many shops in the neighborhood were ready to tap into the expected surge in the crowd.

In the meantime, passengers had mixed views on the new transfer option. A couple, whose last name was Chiu and who live near the Dingxi Station along the Zhonghe Line, said that even though the new route did not take them directly to the Taipei Main Station, "it actually saves time" with trains coming into Taipei City every three minutes.

For some, however, it might take time to get used to the new transport system. For example, a woman who wanted to travel from Dingxi to the National Taiwan University Hospital Station said she got confused because she had been able to reach her destination earlier without having to switch trains.

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