Airport MRT begins commercial operations

Taipei--Taiwan's new mass rapid transit (MRT) line between Taipei and Taoyuan, serving the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, officially began commercial operations Thursday, with passengers offered a 50 percent discount on fares during the first month.

A ceremony to officially launch the commercial operations was held at the A1 (Taipei) Station that day. It was attended by Vice President Chen Chien-jen (???), Transportation Minister Ho Chen Tan (???), Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (???), Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) and Lee Shu-chuan (???), deputy mayor of New Taipei.

The first train on the line departed from the Taipei station at 6 a.m.

"It was very comfortable," said some passengers who took the first train from Taipei and got off at the Taoyuan airport station. They lauded the line as a great way for them to get to the airport, Taiwan's main gateway.

The commercial operations came after a one-month trial run that lasted until Wednesday.

During the trial run, the line recorded about 1.4 million passenger rides, Cheng said.

The new line provides services from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, according to Taoyuan Metro Corp.

Meanwhile, a preferential program will be offered for group purchases of commuter tickets. Under the program, commuter tickets purchased in quantities of 300 or more will enjoy a 50 percent discount, with the tickets valid for 100 days, it said.

Various other discounts will also be available for purchases of 30-day, 60-day and 90-day commuter tickets, it added.

The 51.03-kilometer line, which serves more than 20 stations, runs through Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan in northern Taiwan.

The plan to build an airport MRT was proposed about 20 years ago and construction of the line began in 2006, before a trial run started on Feb. 2, Taoyuan Metro Corp. said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel