Taipei, June 6 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Sunday that thetravel time of the planned rapid transit system connecting Taipei toTaiwan Taoyuan International Airport must be shortened to staycompetitive with the existing freeway network.
The drive between Taipei and the airport currently takesapproximately 40 minutes, and the airport rail system shouldtherefore take half of that for travelers to find it competitive, thepresident said.
"Frankly speaking, since it is a 40-minute car ride to get to theairport, no one would want to ride the MRT if it takes 35 minutes.Therefore, you must shorten the time down to 20 or 25 minutes, " Masaid to the director general of the Bureau of Taiwan High Speed Railduring a visit to the airport.
The 22-station, 51.5-kilometer Taoyuan International AirportAccess MRT system began construction in 2003 and is scheduled tobegin operations in three years. Travel time between Taipei and theairport was originally estimated at 35 minutes.
The airport, formerly known as Chiang Kai-shek InternationalAirport, is the biggest airport in the country and serves as the mainhub for international flights.
The train to the airport is part of the government's NT$10.7billion "Taoyuan Aerotropolis" plan, which also aims to lengthenrunways and taxiways to accommodate aircraft as large as the AirbusA380, add a new third terminal, and establish an aerospace industrialpark and special zones for cargo, passenger and logistics services.
The airport's aging Terminal One is currently undergoing a NT$3.2billion facelift, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said. Therenovation is slated to be completed in August 2011.
According to the Airports Council International's (AIC) 2009Airport Service Quality Survey, Taoyuan International Airport fell to27th place in the 2009, a sharp drop from the previous 18th.
(By Jenny W. Hsu)