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President gives thumbs up to Taichung rapid bus system

President gives thumbs up to Taichung rapid bus system

Taipei, July 26 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu took a ride on the central city's new bus-based mass rapid transit line Saturday, on the eve of the opening of its year-long free service. After riding a 3.5-kilometer stretch of the bus rapid transit (BRT) route along Taiwan Boulevard, Ma gave Hu the thumbs up for planning a public transport system that he said is as good as a subway. The president said he hopes there will be good follow-up work that can make the system in Taichung a model for public transport development in other cities. The blue line, which connects Taichung's railway station and Providence University in the western part of the city, is one of six BRT lines that are expected to be completed one after another, with the final line opening by 2019. The system consists of articulated buses -- those whose sections are connected by a pivoting point -- that can carry up to 120 passengers and, for the most part, travels in a dedicated bus lane. These features allow the system to transport a greater number of passengers and save time by enabling more people to board and disembark at the same time through more and larger doors. With a length of 17.2 kilometers, the blue line is expected to help relieve congestion along Taiwan Boulevard, a main east-west thoroughfare along some of the most rapidly developing areas in the city of 2.7 million residents. For the next year, passengers using electronic travel cards such as EasyCard or iPass can use the blue line service for free. No cash payment is accepted. In addition to taking the bus ride, Ma also visited Maple Garden, a 30,000-square-meter flood detention basin turned urban ecological park that is becoming one of Taichung's most popular tourist spots. The president's visit and his endorsement of the development in the city is seen as an attempt to boost the mayor's chances of winning re-election in late November. Hu, who has been mayor since late 2001, has been trailing in the polls behind his Democratic Progressive Party challenger Lin Chia-lung. (By Chen Shu-fen and Jay Chen)


Updated : 2021-02-27 08:43 GMT+08:00