Taoyuan Int'l Airport MRT raises number of free rides

Taoyuan Airport MRT authorities increases number of trial riders to 25,000

Toayuan Airport MRT Line Express train

Taoyuan Airport MRT Line express train stopping at A3 New Taipei Industrial Park Station. (By Taiwan News)

Taipei (Taiwan News)—The Taoyuan International Airport MRT increased the number tags distributed to passengers each day during the trial period from a total of 20,000 to 25,000 Friday.

The newly opened MRT line is offering free rides during a two week trial period, running from Feb. 16-March 5, 2017.

Many passengers complained they waited over one hour in line to receive number tags to board the train on Thursday morning at Taipei Main Station, but few people were queuing in line for numbered tags at 3:00 pm Friday.

Passengers may swipe their MRT cards at the entrance gate to access the train platforms, only after picking up a number tag.

A common commute train on the The Taoyuan Airport MRT Line heading towards Taipei Main Station packed with passengers. (Taiwan News)

Nonetheless, the express trains were packed with curious riders, mostly elderly and parents with small children during second day of the trial, those left without seats stood most of the way.

Only a few of the test riders were hauling luggage around, and heading towards the airport to catch a flight.

“The Taoyuan International Airport Line can help me cut commute time to the airport to 35 minutes, usually it takes me more than one hour to drive to the airport from Yonghe District in New Taipei City,” said a Taiwanese passenger surnamed Chen, who is a frequent business traveler to China.

The trains run between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the trial period, and passengers can access all 21 stations on the 51.03-kilometer line between Taipei and Taoyuan.

The first two days of the trials period have been rather chaotic at the new MRT line. More than 52,751 rode the express line on the first day of operations on Thursday, with Taipei Main Station recording the top number of passengers at 13,500, reported Liberty Times.

Hong Kong couple Mr. and Mrs. Liang try out The Taoyuan Airport MRT Line. (Taiwan News)

"I wanted to check out the new MRT line, but the free trial period has attracted too many people, and it is really crowded,” said a Hong Kong passenger surnamed Liang, queuing in line to catch a flight home with his wife after a five day visit to Taiwan.

"The MRT signs are unclear," said Liang's wife of 30 years Ms. Lee. "The announcement volume is also too low and can be inaudible.”

Man from Southeast Asia seen far right luggage gets stuck in the free check-in and bag-drop service for airport passengers. (Taiwan News)

A man from Southeast Asia also experienced difficulties with the free check-in and bag-drop service for airport passengers, which is available between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at A1.

After fitting his baggage into the check-in and bag-drop device, and shutting the trap door, the device malfunctioned, even though the man claimed the baggage was not oversized and fitted the required dimensions.

Eva Air stewards help a woman check in her bag at the free check-in and bag-drop service for airport passengers. (Taiwan News)

Airlines that offer check-in counters at the Taipei MRT station include China Airlines and Eva Airways, as well as their respective subsidiaries, Mandarin Airlines and Uni Airways.

After the trial period, the MRT line will charge a fare of NT$30-$180 per person, depending on which station passengers board from, but there will be a one month discount period where fares will be lowered by 50 percent.

A man and a woman stand in front of flight departure announcement board at A1 station of Taoyuan Airport MRT Line. (Taiwan News)