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Taipei MRT Metropolitan Circular Line Takes Shape-- DORTS’ Goals and Challenges  

The Metropolitan Circular line is the next stage of the vision for the MRT construction being actively promoted by Taipei City Government. Furthermore, the Circular line north section & south section, which has just been approved by the National Development Council, Executive Yuan, will connect with Circular line Phase I which has been completely constructed and will soon be open for operations, and the Circular line east section which is currently undergoing planning. Upon completion it will form a comprehensive Metropolitan circular network which will be 49.2 km long and will realize Taipei City Government’s construction vision at an early date.
Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) explained that since Mayor Ko has taken office, MRT construction has been required to consider system resource integration and industrial development. Moreover, the Metropolitan Circular line is being actively promoted, with Circular line south section (5.73 km, 6 stations), Circular line north section (14.93 km, 12 stations), and Circular line east section (13.12 km, 10 stations), and it will make the MRT network into a true circle, achieve simplification of the system along with resource integration and direct access via one car, while also improving accessibility and mobility of the MRT system and convenience for passengers.
The entire Circular line can provide passengers who are traveling on MRT routes radiating out in the metropolitan area with a reduction in winding around, and travel routes for arriving in areas in the city center can be shortened. This will make the Taipei Metropolitan Area MRT route network more complete and efficient. This full-circle route will be approximately 49.2 km long with 42 stations and span 14 administrative districts in Taipei City and New Taipei City. Passengers will be able to directly transfer to the MRT, Light Rail, Taiwan Railways, and Taiwan High Speed Rail at 14 of these stations, and it will connect with 16 radiating routes. Consequently, it will have the capacity to reduce the number of transfers needed to reach downtown areas, alleviate congestion in transfer stations in the city center, connect major development planning areas which are emerging, and achieve the objectives of saving more time and money through rapid and convenient transfers.
DORTS further elaborated stating that for the Metropolitan Circular line, they have considered the effectiveness of operational services and adopted a fully-automated driverless medium-capacity system. Because it is being promoted in stages, it must gradually be submitted for central review. However, based on passenger convenience and sustainable operations, the entire circular system must achieve the objectives of system simplification, passengers arriving at their destinations via one car, resource integration of depots, and reduction of long-term system maintenance costs. Furthermore, in the long run it should have the positive benefit of assisting the nation in promoting railway industry development policies. This is related to not only Mayor Ko’s expectations for the circular network but also to expectations for the scale of the railway and future development. For DORTS, it concerns the goals and challenges of realizing the Metropolitan Circular line.
To date the Circular line north section & south section has been approved by the National Development Council and incorporated into Taipei Metropolitan Area’s forward-looking infrastructure project, and it is estimated that construction will be completed and it will be opened for operations within 10 years. In addition to thanking the central ministries for their support, DORTS also anticipates approval of the Circular line east section at an early date and will spare no efforts in achieving the goals of their vision.