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Taichung residents call for bus rapid transit system to be retained

2015/01/24 21:42:47

Taipei, Jan. 24 (CNA) The majority of Taichung residents who attended a local government forum on Saturday said the city should keep its controversial bus rapid transit (BRT) system, which was introduced last July.

More than 100 residents attended the forum, which was organized by the city's Transportation Bureau to hear the public's opinions as the local government seeks to make a decision on the fate of the BRT.

A resident surnamed Wang said the BRT system is similar to a metro system and has a clear route map. Taichung should retain and expand its BRT until it can build a metro system, the resident added.

Another resident, surnamed Lin, said it would cost money to dismantle the existing BRT system.

Many of the residents also held placards that read "Opposed to tearing down the BRT."

A woman surnamed Huang expressed a different view, however, saying that the city government should abandon the BRT and begin immediate construction of a metro system.

Wang Yi-chuan (王義川), director-general of Taichung's Transportation Bureau, said the city government will continue to seek the public's views on the issue and that a taskforce will examine the operation of the BRT and submit a report within three months.

The suggestions obtained at Saturday's meeting will be forwarded to the taskforce, which will advise on whether to retain the system, he said.

The city government began reviewing the issue after new Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) took office last December in the central Taiwan city.

When the Taichung government launched the BRT last July, Lin, who was a legislator at the time, said the system was not yet ready for operation and that then-Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) had rushed it as a tactic to woo voters in his re-election bid.

Shortly after he was sworn in, Lin assembled a taskforce to examine the BRT's problems.

(By Sophia Chen and Elaine Hou)