To welcome 2006, city and county governments around the island will host parties and other activities starting this evening until early tomorrow morning. They have invited residents to bring their families and friends along to enjoy an exciting night and to take part in the New Year's countdown.
In response to the large number of passengers going to New Year's Eve activities throughout the city, the Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation announced a new schedule for train operations from December 31 to January 1.
The city's MRT system will operate non-stop from this morning until tomorrow midnight. Connecting buses will also be in service to help people reach their destinations.
For those citizens who wish to attend parties and activities in front of the the city government, the TRTC is opening up a fast lane for people to walk to and from City Hall station's exit 2 to the various activities. More than 300 TRTC employees will be assigned to maintain order in and out of the station.
To help visitors find their way, the Taipei City Government is giving away free brochures with maps of the Xinyi District and a list of activities. This year's celebration will continue until 5 a.m., when a flag-raising ceremony and a morning jog will complete proceedings.
Fireworks will light up the skies above Taipei 101 during the final countdown, and street lights, lamp posts, Christmas trees, and department store windows will be brilliant with light.
A city government official predicted that more people will take part in this year's activities than last year as 2004 saw more than 170,000 people attend the New Year party at the city hall.
Major pop artists, such as A-mei (張惠妹), May Day (五月天), Fir, and Stephanie Sun will perform at the Civil Plaza from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m., followed by MRT Cup Pop Music Contest Finals to be held at the city hall's southeastern "street-dancing" corner from 1 a.m. until 5 a.m.
Shopping centers and department stores in that area, including New York New York, Taipei 101, Warner Village, Neo 19 and the Novel Hall for Performing Arts, will be extending their business hours. DJs will be playing hot dance tracks for those who want to show off their skills at the center court of Warner Village.
If citizens are not too tired after taking part in those activities, they are welcome to take part in a morning jog that starts at Civil Plaza at 5:30 a.m. The route will go all the way down Renai Road, and ends at the Youth Recreation Center. The first 2,000 participants will receive a small flag and a T-shirt.
In Taitung County, the county government will cooperate with the National Pre-history Cultural Museum to sponsor a concert with the participation of well-known pop singers starting at 7 p.m. On the coastal beach resort of Tamali, 37 DJs will play hot rock music for young people to release their energy.
In southern Taiwan, the Tainan city and county governments will hold various activities to celebrate the occasion.
Miss Taiwan Liu Tzu-hsun will join well-known performing artists in a large variety show to be highlighted by a fireworks show in the square of the Tainan City Hall. TV host Wu Tsung-hsien will host a party at the Matou Junior High School. The county government will provide free transportation for visitors between the school and the Hsinying Train Station until after midnight,.
In Kaohsiung, traffic police will be deployed on major highways and crossroads to conduct spot checks to prevent young motorcyclists from racing. In the past year, more than 221 young motorcyclists were arrested for speeding and endangering public safety, said police.