Taipei, Nov. 23 (CNA) The Xinyi Line on Taipei City's mass rapid transit system was inaugurated Saturday, extending MRT travel from downtown areas of the city to Xiangshan near Elephant Mountain on the outskirts.
The east-west line essentially follows Xinyi Road, starting at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and running through stations at Dongmen, Daan Park, Daan, Xinyi, Anhe, and Taipei 101/World Trade Center to the final stop at Xiangshan.
After the inauguration ceremony, President Ma Ying-jeou and Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin took a test ride on the line from Daan Park Station to Xiangshan.
Noting that the new line was completed one month short of eight years, Hau said it offers residents greater convenience and will contribute to better functioning of the city.
He said that, for example, the Daan Park station features green infrastructure and will host cultural performances from time to time.
Taipei Rapid Transit Corp., which operates the metro system, will offer free rides on the Xinyi Line for one month after the line begins public operations Sunday, the mayor said.
In addition, 94 shops along the line, in collaboration with the Taipei City government, will offer passengers up to 50 percent discount on goods and services.
President Ma said that while the new line is only 6.4-km long, it runs through one of the busiest areas of the city, which made the construction difficult.
Ma expressed gratitude to Taipei residents for their forbearance during the project, which cost NT$33.8 billion (US$1.14 billion).
Ma and Hau also paid a tribute to the workers, including two Thai nationals, who died on the project.
(By Kelven Huang, Huang Li-yun and Lilian Wu)