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Taichung mayor to let citizens decide fate of bus rapid transit system

Taichung mayor to let citizens decide fate of bus rapid transit system

Taipei, Jan. 25 (CNA) Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (???) said Sunday that he will put forward some options in March to allow the city's residents to decide whether to retain the controversial bus rapid transit (BRT) system. "It seems difficult to convert the system into a standard BRT, but if we want an improvement, we'll need to collate the opinions of experts and residents," Lin said in a meeting with members of the city's BRT review and improvement panel. Lin has said that the Taichung system does not meet the standards of a proper BRT, which is usually composed of stations, a ticketing system, and a traffic control center. In terms of the control center, the BRT in Taichung has only a temporary one for the single line that in operation, and even that line is not quite complete, Lin has said. The Taichung BRT was intended to be an integrated system of six lines but Lin has suspended the plans for the construction of the other five lines amid controversy over the project. Soon after the Sunday's meeting, Lin said that in March, he will present several workable options for the consideration of Taichung's citizens so that they can decide whether to keep the BRT system, convert the BRT lanes into dedicated bus lanes, or reintegrate them into the regular traffic lanes. The system needs to be examined by experts to determine whether it can be converted into a standard rapid transit system and for improvement plans to be put forward in a pragmatic and rational manner, he said. The BRT, which began commercial runs last July, was the subject of heated debate among candidates in the November 2014 local government elections. Some motorists have complained about traffic congestion and difficulty changing lanes, since the BRT line and stations occupy dedicated lanes. Amid the complaints, however, ridership on the BRT increased from 36,000 passengers per day at the end of August last year to 50,000 in October, according to data from the city's Transportation Bureau. When the Taichung government launched the BRT last July, Lin, who was a legislator at the time, said the system was not yet ready for operation and that then-Mayor Jason Hu (???) had rushed it as a tactic to woo voters in his re-election bid. After Lin took office last December, he assembled a task force, comprising experts in the fields of construction, electromechanical engineering and transportation, to examine the BRT's problems and advise the city government on solutions. On Saturday, the city government held a civic forum, inviting residents to give their opinions on whether the BRT should be retained. Most of the 100-plus residents who attended the forum said the BRT operations should be allowed to continue. (By Liao Jen-kai and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-26 18:56 GMT+08:00