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High-speed rail wins approval from MOTC

Consumers' Foundation plans campaign to discourage commuters on safety fears

High-speed rail wins approval from MOTC

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday approved the launch of the high-speed rail after the MOTC held a supervisory meeting in the afternoon.
According to the MOTC, it will issue the operating permit for the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. within one week. The THSRC cannot begin providing public service until it makes an announcement concerning the train ticket fares, the MOTC noted.
MOTC Vice Minister Ho Nuan-hsuan said during a press conference late yesterday that the ministry has examined each deficiency outlined in the report presented by the inspection team in November and made sure the THSRC has solved all the deficiencies.
"We will issue the operating permit as soon as possible," Ho said.
Bureau of High Speed Rail official, Hu Hsiang-ling, noted the bureau will demand the THSRC to list the price of tickets at least a week before business operation.
THSRC spokesman Arthur Chiang said during a telephone interview that the THSRC will launch a trial operation for one week or more after it receives the official permit from the MOTC.
He noted the trial operation will offer passengers services at lower prices to try the bullet trains, but the board of directors has yet to decide the trial fares.
Chiang refused to comment on when the THSRC will begin the trial operation or official operation although local Chinese-language cable stations speculated the THSRC will launch its service on January 1, 2007.
"We are well-prepared to begin operation and the official approval from the MOTC represents a beginning of a bigger responsibility," Chiang said.
The MOTC held a final inspection meeting last month, which was jointly participated in by a group of scholars and experts and the MOTC officials, which approved the launch of high-speed rail with six conditions attached or 33 deficiencies. Of the six conditions, the THSRC has to maintain a "zero-accident rate" for one month after the last derailment occurred on November 24.
None of the scholars today nor the Japanese Shinkansen experts joined the meeting, but officials from the MOTC, the THSRC employers, Lloyd's Register Project Team, and members of chief consultant company of the THSRC partook in the meeting, Central News Agency said.
"Three Japanese experts invited by the MOTC all said the safety of the rail is OK, but advised to watch out for human negligence in the future operation," Tsui Bo-yi, one of the consultants, said.
The Consumers' Foundation Chairman Cheng Jen-hung (程仁宏) said late yesterday the foundation will launch a "treasure your life by not taking the high-speed rail" campaign starting today.
"I am sorry to hear that the MOTC announced the decision on Christmas eve," Cheng said, adding the decision showed that the MOTC made the interests of financial syndicates its top priority.
"The foundation will use soft approaches to dissuade passengers from taking the high-speed rail at the Banciao, Taichung, and Zuoying stations on the day of its official operation; we strongly advise consumers not to take risks," Cheng noted.
Meanwhile, responding to local news reports claiming eight deficiencies outlined in a German-based report are still not solved, the THSRC Chief Executive Officer, Ou Chin-der (歐晉德), stressed the report was not authentic and had been edited. "Can you believe in the authenticity of one thing if it has been changed?" Ou asked.


Updated : 2021-04-22 20:11 GMT+08:00