A regional conference on public transportation opened yesterday in Taipei, with 300 delegates from 22 countries gathering to discuss aspects of sustainable urban development and to observe Taiwan's progress in this regard.
The March 10-13 Asia-Pacific Assembly of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) is being held under the theme "Helping Cities Breathe - Public Transport: The Key to Urban Sustainable Development."
Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. (TRTC), which is hosting the meeting, said that apart from the presentations and discussions on how public transport can help cities more sustainable, the conference will give the delegates an opportunity to discover interesting aspects of Taipei City and beyond.
"It is our honor to host this year's Asia-Pacific meeting in Taipei and we believe that it will be a good opportunity for foreign participants to observe the developments in the city," said TRTC President Tsay Huei-sheng in a press release.
In addition, the participants will travel to Kaohsiung on the high-speed railway Friday. Thanks to the high-speed rail service, travelers can go from the country's north to the south and back in one day, and the delegates will have a chance to experience this so-called "one-day living circle" tour, he added.
According to the TRTC, as a member of the Nova International Railway Benchmarking Group and the Community of Metros (Nova/CoMET) , the system has been rated as the most reliable metro system among 26 CoMET and Nova Consortiums for four consecutive years since 2004.
Countries, such as South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Australia, India, Thailand, Malaysia, China and international public transport companies have shown great interest in learning from the Taiwan experience by attending this year's meeting, the TRTC said.
It said the opening of the MRT's Nangang eastern extension line from Kunyang Station to Nangang Station on the Taipei MRT system is one of the achievements that will be discussed at the conference.
In keeping with the meeting's theme, "Helping Cities Breathe," the TRTC on Feb. 25 unveiled a 105.3 meter long vegetal wall at the metro's Taipei City Hall Station.
According to the company, during the two-month exhibition period, the wall is expected to absorb 35,445 grams of CO2 and release 26,094 grams of oxygen, functioning much the same as a 20-year-old tree.
The TRTC said that the Taipei mass rapid transit system has proved to be a good solution to the city's long-existing traffic problem, as it has spurred the revival of satellite towns, helped to alleviate traffic congestion and revitalized the city. The Taipei metro's accumulated ridership had reached 3.4 billion passengers as of the end of January.
The UITP, which has its headquarters in Belgium, is an international network for public transport authorities and operators, policy decision-makers, scientific institutes and the public transport supply and service industry.