Taipei metro surprises, impresses on 20th anniversary

Taipei Metro celebrated its 20th anniversary March 28, continuing to impress riders with its high standards of cleanliness, efficiency and globally recognized reliability.

From 2004 to 2008, the metro was No. 1 in the world for reliability as assessed by London-based benchmarking groups Community of Metros and Nova Group of Metros. According to operator Taipei Rapid Transit Corp., it no longer holds top spot but continues to rank among the leaders.

Congratulatory videos from city metros around the world flowed into the offices of TRTC. One of the most popular is a clip by New York City Transit Authority staffers wishing the metro happy birthday in Chinese.

This strong appreciation of the metro is shared by foreigners in Taiwan. Priority seats for the elderly, disabled and pregnant women; a ban on eating and drinking in stations and on trains; and standing on the right side of station escalators all come in for high praise.

Andrew Dyson, an English teacher from the U.S. working in Taipei, said the metro is safe, clean and convenient. “The no-food policy is good, for sure. So many times on the subway in New York I sit on seats covered in spilt pop and discarded fast food. I cannot begin to count the number of times I had to throw away designer jeans ruined by food and drink stains.”

Echoing Dyson’s remarks, Samuel Lee-an ROC national raised in Cape Town-said he was proud of the subway’s escalator etiquette. “When my friends from South Africa visit Taiwan, they are surprised by how orderly and well-mannered the passengers are.”

But Lee said the priority seats could be seen as a contentious issue. “They should be open to everyone. Why should normal passengers have to stand when empty seats are just begging to be used?”

The metro began operations March 28, 1996, and boasts five lines serving 117 stations. It has a total track length of 131 kilometers and carried 1.97 million riders per day as of the end of February, according to TRTC data.

Source: Taiwan Today