Taoyuan Airport MRT Express to Launch in March Under Loosened Standards

Taoyuan Airport MRT Express to Launch in March Under Loosened Standards
Photo Credit:我的新北市
What you need to know

If the contractor keeps failing to fulfill the requirements unrelated to the system’s stability and safety, such as travel time and interval time, the government will consider launching the system first and making improvements along the way.

The News Lens international edition is sponsored by Tutor A B C

Translated by Bing-sheng Lee

The launch of the Taoyuan International Airport MRT Line has already been delayed five times and the fact that it is still under testing has raised controversy among the public.

It is reported that at the end of 2015, the Executive Yuan ratified permission to lower the acceptance criteria, which might risk the safety of passengers, in order to move up operation of the line before President Ma leaves the office on May 20, 2016.

The Bureau of High Speed Rail (BOHSR) clarifies that loosening the standards is the last resort to speed up the testing process. It is currently still targeting March 2016 as the scheduled launch time of the line.

Liberty Times reports, the airport express has cost NT$110 billion (approximately US$328 million) yet the system still has not passed several tests, including reaching 60 km/hr in velocity and the stability test. It is estimated that the testing will not be finished until June 2016.

It is alleged that to expedite the process, the Ministry of Transportation and Communication is considering lowering the acceptance criteria, reducing the required speed from 60 km/hr to 45 km/hr and cutting the frequency of trains from one every five minutes to one every six minutes.

Chang San-cheng, vice premier of the Executive Yuan, confirms the alleged proposal, saying that sticking to the original standards could postpone the commencing date yet again, so some minor adjustments unrelated to safety may be made to the specifications of the system. Chang is taking over the Premier’s office on February 1, 2016.

CNA reports, Chung Wei-li, chief engineer of BOHSR, says that BOHSR brought up the idea of lowering the standards because the airport express MRT line is under integrated systems testing and has only passed 39 out of the 46 items in the criteria.

CNA reports, Chung Wei-li, chief engineer of BOHSR, says that BOHSR brought up the idea of lowering the standards because the airport express MRT line is under integrated systems testing and has only passed 39 out of the 46 items in the criteria.

According to the contract, an express train from Taipei to Terminal One in Taoyuan International Airport should take 35 minutes travel time, and the least interval of trains should be three minutes. But in reality, the express train takes 37 minutes and the shortest interval sits at around three minutes and 15 seconds, which is the main reason of the postponement.

Newtalk reports, Chung states that under the premise that the system is safe and stable, if the contractor keeps failing to fulfill the requirements unrelated to the system’s stability and safety, such as travel time and interval time, BOHSR will consider launching the system first and making improvements along the way.

Edited by Olivia Yang

Sources:
Liberty Times
CNA
Newtalk
Apple Daily