Taipei, Nov. 15 (CNA) A new section of the Danhai Light Rail Transit system in New Taipei, which extends the service along a route to Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf, started operations Sunday with a series of celebratory events at the wharf.
At the opening ceremony at 10 a.m., Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said passengers with electronic metro passes would get free rides for a month on the first section of the Blue Seaside Line when the service started at 2 p.m.
The new 2-kilometer section of the line has three stations -- Taipei University of Marine Technology, Shalun, and Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf, a popular sightseeing area.
In celebration of the opening of the new section, a series of events were held at the wharf, including a fun fair with about 30 booths, which started at 3 p.m., a 10-minute fireworks show, and a concert featuring performances by pop music singers and groups at 7:30 p.m., according to New Taipei Metro Corp. (NTMC)
NTMC also issued commemorative one-day passes to mark the launch of the new section.
Meanwhile, New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) said at the opening ceremony that the passenger count has grown 42 percent since the light rail system's first section --the Green Mountain Line -- opened in December 2018, and the passenger load will continue to increase with the development of the Blue Seaside Line.
The launch of the new section means that passengers will be able to travel directly from Hongshulin to Fishermen's Wharf, the NTMC said, adding that the service from Hongshulin will alternate between Kanding and Fishermen's Wharf every 7-8 minutes, from 6 a.m. to midnight.
The new line also connects via Shalun Station with the existing Green Mountain Line, which runs from Hongshulin MRT Station to Kanding Station through 11 stations, according to NTMC.
The Blue Seaside Line is scheduled to be completed in 2024, with the construction of an additional 5.71 km section between Fisherman's Wharf and Tamsui MRT Station, according to NTMC.
The full plan for the Danhai light rail system is to build four lines -- Blue, Green, Bali and Sanzhi -- at a total cost of NT$15.3 billion (US$468.78 million), NTMC said.