Dec 23, 2018 Culture Comments Off on First light rail line in northern Taiwan to start operations Sunday
Taipei, Part of the Danhai Light Rail Transit system in New Taipei City, the first of its kind in northern Taiwan, will start operations on Sunday, with members of the public able to ride free of charge for a month from Monday, according to the city government.
The 7.3-km line, which starts at Taipei Metro's Hongshulin Station, will traverse 11 stations in Tamsui District, running north and west before ending at Kanding Station.
Dubbed the Green Mountain Line, the network is the first phase of a four-line Danhai Light Rail Transit system, which will also include the Blue Seaside Line currently being built, as well as Bali and Sanzhi lines for which planning is ongoing.
The first phase of the Blue Seaside Line, which has three stops: Taipei University of Marine Technology, Shalun and Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf, is expected to be completed in 2019, the government said.
The total budget for the Danhai light rail system, including a second phase to extend the Blue Seaside Line with six more stations along Tamsui River, between Fisherman's Wharf and Tamsui metro station, is NT$15.3 billion (US$468.78 million).
The tram lines are part of the development of the 1,748.7-hectare Danhai New Town, which was launched in 1992 and hopes to attract a population of 300,000 by 2036.
The Green Mountain Line, which runs along Zhongzheng East Road, Provincial Highway No. 2, Binhai Road, Shalun Road and terminates near Danhai New Town project, will include seven overhead stops and four ground level stops.
The elevated stations are: Hongshulin, Ganzhenlin, Danjin Dengong, Tamkang University, Danjin Beixin, Xinshi 1st Rd. and Tamsui District Office, while the last four ground level stations on the line are Binhai Yishan, Binhai Shalun, Danhai New Town and Kanding.
Powered by electricity, trams traveling on the ground level will have their own tracks but share the road with other vehicles and obey standard traffic regulations, including stopping at red lights.
Passengers will also have to press a button to open the doors of the tram as they do not open automatically.
All stations are decorated with public art by Taiwanese artist Jimmy, and the cars are painted light blue with large windows for easy sightseeing, said New Taipei Metro Corporation (NTMC).
The inauguration ceremony for the new line will take place at 5 p.m. at Tamsui District Office, featuring light art installations at the station and the Tamsui sunset, according to the company.
NTMC General Manager Wu Kuo-chi said the line will be open to the public free of charge from Monday, adding that the toll-free period will last one month.
The tram will operate every day between 6:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. at intervals of 15 minutes, with fares ranging from NT$20 (US$0.6) to NT$25.
Passengers who hold stored-value cards will receive a 20 percent fare discount, the company said, adding that the tram system will also accept the NT$1,280 Taipei and New Taipei joint 30-day unlimited ridership cards.
Starting next June, nine mobile payment services will be introduced for the convenience of passengers, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, iPASS x LINE Pay, Ali Pay, Union Pay, Garmin Pay, Fitbit Pay and Hami Pay, the company said.
The Danhai Light Rail Transit system is a joint project between local rail vehicle company Taiwan Rolling Stock Co. and German-based Voith Engineering Services, providing Taiwanese transportation manufacturing companies with an opportunity to be involved in the development process for the first time, New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu said.
Previously, such companies were original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for Japanese companies and had limited ability to develop key technology.
The new partnership with the German company seeks to facilitate technology transfer and create a supply chain and corresponding maintenance operations, Chu said.
The NTMC said the light rail transit system could also create additional business opportunities worth NT$14.4 billion across Taiwan if adopted by other cities.
The Taiwan government hopes that by 2025, the country will be able to manufacture more than half of the light rail components it needs.
The first light rail system in Taiwan was built in Kaohsiung in late 2017, and the feasibility of building tram systems in Keelung and Hsinchu, both in northern Taiwan, is currently being considered.
Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council
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