Taoyuan Airport MRT up and running

  • Date: 2017-03-10

I. Background

On March 2, 2017, the long-anticipated Taoyuan Airport mass rapid transit (MRT) line finally began commercial operations, connecting the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan City to New Taipei City and the nation’s capital of Taipei. The 51.03-kilometer line (10.92 kilometers running underground, 40.11 kilometers on elevated tracks) covers 22 stations (seven underground and 15 elevated) and is serviced by the Chingpu and Luzhu maintenance depots in Taoyuan.

After construction began in 2006, the project was plagued by a series of problems including soaring raw material prices, difficulties issuing civil engineering tenders, designs that had to be modified due to environmental protection concerns, and protracted contract disputes between mechanical engineering companies. And when construction was eventually completed, the system was initially unable to meet stability testing standards, causing numerous delays to the line’s launch date.

Shortly after the new administration took office, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) set up a committee on June 30, 2016 to oversee the Taoyuan Airport MRT project. After the committee conducted thorough evaluations and presented a report verifying the system’s safety, the Bureau of High Speed Rail (BOHSR), the Taoyuan Metro Corp. and the Taoyuan International Airport Corp. redoubled efforts and brought the system up to testing and operational standards. Having passed the preliminary and final inspections and making the necessary improvements, the airport MRT line on January 25, 2017 received the green light, and, following a month-long trial run, finally opened its sliding doors to the public.

 

II. Convenient transportation, in-town check-in

A. Transportation convenience:

The Taoyuan Airport MRT line is connected to the high-speed rail, the conventional railways, the Taipei Metro system (Tamsui-Xinyi, Bannan and Zhonghe-Xinlu lines), and will later be linked to the Taipei Metro circular line and the Taoyuan Metro green line. Together, they form a major network that provides speedy transport to and from the airport and brings international flights within reach of domestic traffic systems. Local governments are also providing shuttle buses and integrating different stored-value cards to make transfers seamless and hassle-free. All of these efforts will create a complete and convenient intermodal transportation network that maximizes benefits for travelers between the airport and nearby cities.

B. Saves energy, reduces carbon:

The airport MRT’s express service takes only about 35 minutes from the airport to Taipei Main Station in downtown Taipei, much faster than by car or bus. Traveling by metro also cuts down on freeway traffic, fuel consumption, air pollution and other social costs.

C. In-town check-in:

Passengers heading for the Taoyuan airport can utilize pre-boarding service at Taipei Main Station (station A1 of the line) to obtain flight boarding passes and drop off their luggage so they can continue shopping or conducting business matters with ease. This type of in-town check-in service—available only at five airports worldwide—highlights the quality of Taiwan’s metro and airport services.

 

III. Promotes peripheral benefits, creates jobs

The airport MRT route passes through several infrastructure development sites and large public facilities that promote regional growth and local prosperity. For instance, the BOHSR is building offices, shopping malls and recreational facilities at the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (A8), Linkou (A9), Taoyuan HSR (A18) and Taoyuan Sports Park (A19) stations. The Construction and Planning Agency has requisitioned land to build affordable housing units near the National Taiwan Sport University Station (A7) station. The Taoyuan City Government is conducting land requisition and development at the Shanbi (A10), Xingnan (A20) and Huanbei (A21) stations, and will incorporate the Kengkou (A11), Dayuan (A15) and Hengshan (A16) stations into the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project. By providing easy access to these sites, the airport MRT line will help boost economic activity while increasing employment opportunities.

 

IV. Conclusion

The Taoyuan airport MRT is an important national infrastructure project that provides smooth and reliable transportation between Taiwan’s largest international airport and downtown Taipei. The number of Taiwanese and foreign passengers on the system broke 50,000 on opening day, and reached over 100,000 on the first Saturday (March 4, 2017) after opening.

With the airport MRT up and running, the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport can offer even better service as the gateway to Taiwan, adding another operational advantage that boosts its competitiveness in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.