Taipei, Jan. 5 (CNA) The Xinzhuang line on the greater Taipei's mass rapid transit (MRT) system began commercial runs Thursday, offering service from downtown Taipei to Xinzhuang District in New Taipei City.
Travel on the line will be free of cost for the first month, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said on the first commercial ride.
However, the free fares apply only to passengers who use the MRT's EasyCard for travel to one of the eight stations on the line, Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. said. People who buy tokens for single rides will be charged the standard fare, it said.
The new line was inaugurated jointly by Hau and New Taipei Mayor Eric Liluan Chu, who both took the first service on the 8.2 kilometer-line between their two cities. The Xinzhuang line will become part of the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport MRT line that is being built to link Taipei to the country's main gateway.
With the start of its operation, the Taipei MRT has now been expanded to a network of 114.6 km.
Last November, the Luzhou line was launched, providing service from the Zhongxiao-Xinsheng intersection in downtown Taipei to Luzhou District in New Taipei City.
The Xinzhuang line follows the same route for part of the way, from Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station to Daqiaotou Station, then branches off to the Xinzhuang area and ends at Fu Jen University Station in New Taipei.
The entire trip on the new line takes an estimated 24 minutes, cutting the travel time between the two points by at least half.
Some passengers on the inaugural ride said they were excited at the launch of the new line.
"We have been looking forward to this service for a long time," said Huang Hsi-yi, head of Jungho Borough in Xinzhuang. "It will provide a more comfortable transportation choice, especially in rainy weather."
(By Lee Hsin-Yin)