Airport MRT could be launched in first half of 2017: minister

Transportation Minister Ho Chen Tan (???) said Wednesday that a long-delayed mass rapid transit system linking Taipei and Taiwan's main international airport could begin service in the first half of next year.

The 35.7-kilometer line, which has been under construction since 2006 and will serve 22 stations, including 14 from Taipei Main Station to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, was originally scheduled to open in 2010.

It has been delayed several times, however, largely due to signal problems and a lack of coordination between the line's contractors.

"We hope the service can be launched in the first half of next year, but we still have to respect the results of inspections," Ho Chen said.

He noted that the stability of the line is being improved, and the ministry is making efforts to have it put into service as soon as possible.

He was responding to questions at a legislative hearing from Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Cheng Pao-ching (???), who said the public has waited for the line for 20 years and demanded that the service open by March 2017.

Chen Kai-ling (???), president of Taoyuan Metro Corp., which operates the line, said recently that the criteria for launching the service is a stability level of 99 percent for seven consecutive days.

Currently, that stability level has been achieved for three or four consecutive days, and the stability level of most tests is now 98.9 percent.

"The tests will continue to ensure that there are no compromises on quality and safety," Chen said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel