The incident of broken connector couplings of Taichung MRT Green Line was now resolved after the Reviewing Committee strictly examined the safety for six meetings. Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-Yen today (the 10th) announced trial operations for the whole fleet of MRT trains on the Green Line will be run for 30 days between March 25th and April 23rd. The public is invited to bring their e-passes for free rides. MRT services were expected to be suspended for a day on April 24th and official operations were scheduled starting from April 25th.
Today, Mayor Lu led Deputy Mayor, Huang Kuo-Jung and Bruce Linghu, Secretary General, Huang Tsung-Dian, Director General of the Transportation Bureau, Yeh Chao-Fu, Director General of the Legal Affairs Bureau, Li Shang-Chi, Director General of the Information Bureau, Huang Kuo-Wei, President of Taichung Rapid Transit Corporation, Lin Chi-Ying, to convene the press conference for trial operations of the Taichung MRT Green Line. According to Mayor Lu, Taichung MRT is the biggest transportation construction project in Central Taiwan and its building exceeded 13 years. Citizens of Taichung were looking forward to the new MRT life. On November 21st last year, trial operations were suspended due to the incident of broken connector couplings. The Taichung City Government, the Taichung Rapid Transit Corporation and the contractors, the MRT Engineering Bureau of the Taipei City Government and Kawasaki Heavy Industries put all efforts to identify the cause of failures and made improvements. The Failure Analysis Reports submitted by the contractors were strictly examined by the Review Committee to ensure public safety. Today, trial operations of the MRT Green Line were announced to be resumed.
Mayor Lu pointed out that “Trial operations of the Taichung MRT is our promise to the citizens in Taichung and a demonstration of our responsibility. Our citizens have been waiting for a long time” and said trial operations of the whole fleet of the MRT Green Line will begin between March 11th and 24th in full schedule for warming up purposes. Then from March 25th to April 23rd, with a duration of 30 days, 18 stations on the whole line were scheduled for free trial rides for the public. On the preparation day, April 24th, services were scheduled to be suspended for one day for the commencement ceremony on April 25th when official operations will start.
Lu also said that when facing difficulties, her government worked with great efforts to overcome and trial operations this time were expected to be more advanced and experienced than the previous ones. Better preparations were made for operations and maintenance and time for trial operations were scheduled to be offer during full hours from 6:00 to 24:00 for free public rides. As for compensation seeking against the Taipei MRT Bureau, Lu said a certain calculation basis requires complicated operations that shall be done by the third party and the Taichung City Government was initiating relevant operations according to the contract to protect the rights of its citizens.
Director General of the Transportation Bureau, Yeh Chao-Fu pointed out that the Reviewing Committee for Failure of the Taichung MRT convened six meetings and conducted two on-site inspections. Each committee member worked with great efforts and professionalism to fairly and objectively review relevant data and reports of this case. After cross-examination, in-depth analyses and discussions, they agreed on the causes and improvement solutions proposed by the Taipei MRT Bureau including the “comprehensive verification in five dimensions” and “triple-way safety protection.”
Director General Yeh further explained that the comprehensive verification in five dimensions including materials verification (improved steel materials), design verification (improved safety coefficient), manufacturing verification (proper heat treatment), assembly verification (comprehensive product manufacturing information (PMI) ) and operations verification (AW3 maximum loading test) and the triple-way safety protection served to extend warranty, monitor and test operations on a regular basis, request vendors to assure safety of connector couplings from operations to major repairs and maintenance, provide the newest PMI and continuously monitor operations of semi-permanent connector couplings.
For train frequency during operations, President Lin Chi-Ying of the Taichung Rapid Transit Corporation said there were two phases operated for the previous trial, but due to the popularity of the trial ride, during the 30-day trial operations, official operating schedule was expected to be run from 6:00-24:00 daily with the frequency of 5minutes at peak time and 8minutes at off peak time on weekdays. While on weekends and holidays, the frequency between 6:00 to 10:00 and 20:00-23:00 is every eight minutes while from 10:00-20:00, MRT trains come every 5.5 minutes. Additionally, to respond to the need of the Taiwan High Speed Rail riders who get on board the last train to arrive at Taichung Station, additional trains heading for Beitun Terminal were scheduled to depart at 00:15 every day.
The Taichung Rapid Transit Corporation said riders shall need e-cards (EasyCard, iPass, and icash) to enter and exit stations. During the trial operations, no fees will be charged from these e-tickets. For riders who do not possess e-cards, they can purchase their cards at the information desk at a MRT station. Furthermore, to coordinate with pandemic prevention, riders shall wear face masks during their ride and no food and drink are allowed inside a station and a train. Let passengers exit first before boarding on the train and do use a bus holder or strap to jointly maintain riding safety and quality.