TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A flood of weekend tourists, along with regular crowds during weekday rush hours is testing the patience of commuters who depend upon the Tamsui MRT Station.
Conditions have become so bad that there is nary any space to stand as commuters wait for trains, which they allege are operating on a schedule that is disproportionally slow compared to other popular MRT stations, per UDN.
According to the Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS), Taipei City Government, Tamsui MRT Station ranks sixth in terms of passenger volume. This is despite the average frequency of trains departing the station being half that of other stations.
This has led to accusations that MRT officials are not doing enough to alleviate crowded MRT platforms and traffic. New Taipei City Councilor Cheng Yu-en (鄭宇恩) appealed to New Taipei City Hall to consider increasing the number of MRT trains departing Tamsui Station, per UDN.
As of February, the top MRT stations in terms of passenger volume were Taipei Main Station, Taipei City Government, Ximen, Zhongshan, Zhongxiao-Fuxing, Banciao, Tamsui, Nanjing-Fuxing, Xinpu, and Taipei 101/World Trade Center
Cheng said many of these stations see MRT trains departing every three minutes, though only Tamsui has trains departing every six minutes during peak travel time.
According to Cheng, the Tamsui-Xinyi Line, also known as the Red Line, is divided into two parts: Tamsui-Xiangshan and Daan-Beitou. During rush hour, the two sections of the route run every six minutes.
Cheng said if the Daan-Beitou section was extended to Tamsui, the frequency of MRT trains on the line could be shortened to three minutes, and the commuting problem in Tamsui could be alleviated.
Cheng said in the past that DORTS has wanted to increase the frequency many times but ignored the interests of commuters. He also noted that shops and markets around the Tamsui Station may benefit from less frequent trains as it may encourage more commuters to shop while they wait for their trains.
One passenger, surnamed Lin (林), pointed out that Tamsui is quite far from downtown areas in Taipei with many people needing to sit for the duration of the trip. Should one desire a seat, they may have to wait for two to three trains to pass.
Lin hoped DORTS could do more to increase the number of MRT trains, which may increase the public's willingness to take the MRT and end dependency upon public buses which operate in the area. DORTS says there is still adequate capacity at the moment, though it could make adjustments based upon passenger volume.