Photo of the Day: Mass exodus in Taipei before Typhoon Maria

Taipei MRT packed as workers were let off early to return home before Typhoon Maria struck

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Taipei's Nanjing Fuxing MRT station. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- This photo was taken in Taipei's Nanjing Fuxing MRT Station yesterday after 4 p.m., when the city government announced offices and schools were to be closed as Typhoon Maria was rapidly approaching Taiwan.

Many criticized the last-minute decision to close offices and schools early as it lead to a massive tsunami of office workers flooding Taipei's MRT and roads. Critics said giving citizens the whole afternoon off would have been preferable as it would have enabled people more time to gradually disperse, rather than unleash them so close to the normal rush hour.

Photos soon surfaced of massive throngs of people piling into MRT stations and gridlock on freeways across the city. Comparisons were made to New Year’s Eve, when hundreds of thousands of revelers take the MRT to see the Taipei 101 fireworks.

At some locations, lines of waiting passengers even stretched out outside the stations and into the street. Commuters said they had to wait 40 minutes before a train arrived with enough space for them to fit inside, the Central News Agency reported.

However, passengers generally behaved in an orderly fashion, patiently queuing in line, and there were no reports of injuries.


Passengers queuing outside of MRT on Ruiguang Road in Taipei's Neihu District. (CNA image)


(CNA image)


All passengers headed one way at Jiannan Road MRT Station in Zhongshan District. (CNA image)


Passengers queue patiently at Nanjing Songjiang MRT station at around 4:30 p.m.