Life on the MRT 2018


You say that as if you only walk 2 steps to get from East TST to TST and Hong Kong station to Central is across the way when you exit the train. C’mon.


Fair point. I find the Hong Kong to Central station not too bad but the East TST to TST can be quite a bit of a walk . Though in both cases I find the transfer process more streamlined than what most cases I have encountered in Taipei.

The brown lines by far annoys me the most because you cannot access both platforms from ground level.


They are designed as an afterthought.


From wikipedia


If you could do that, there would be some serious issues.

Aside from the crowded trains during rush hour and weekends, I do like the idea of being above the city and seeing each major road from atop.


I’m no city planner, do you mind explaining the issue? Wouldn’t the same amount of people will be at the platforms? Access from ground level to both platforms will just give commuters the added convenience of getting to their platform of direction of travel sooner.


Not a city planner either, but Fuxing South/North Road was there before the elevated MRT line. My assumption is…the street wasn’t wide or large enough for an underground station, so they built above ground. You can kind of see a similar theme with the circle line going through parts of New Taipei.

All the connecting lines were built after the brown line was running and all of them were underground. So, there wasn’t much choice for them to be on the same level.

Why didn’t they just build above ground instead of below for the other lines so we can have efficient af transfers? That…is a good question.


So? They put the line there and didn’t have the land or space to put stations and then as an afterthought just constructed it this way.

And, BTW the brown line was in fact useless as there weren’t lots of commuters using it, until they extended it to Neihu and connected it to the blue line ones more, making it circular.


…Bad city planning…


They should do what a lot of countries I am familiar with…buy out the properties/land around the area and redevelop it in to an integrated transport/shopping/living hub. i.e Hong Kong MTR model.


At Taipei prices? Land owners know the price!


As an long term investment it can be so much more profitable. The HK MTR corporation makes so much $$$ from its redevelopment projects.


They do do this, to some extent (admittedly not as much as HK). I don’t know the details… can anyone comment? I have read about the MRT corporation auctioning off leases and developing lots. And if you look at the area above the station box of many MRT stations, you will see the high rise apartment towers, this is known as TOD or Transit Oriented Development. Xinyi Anhe, Nanshijiao, Dingxi, and Banqiao are just a couple stations that come to mind which have TOD directly on top of the station box, and many others have it in adjacent parcels which were used for staging during construction.


Generally speaking, underground mass transit is much more expensive per km than elevated, and elevated is more expensive than surface, the cheapest option. (Surface mass transit would be non viable in a place like Taipei due to impossibility of getting a clear grade separated right of way… only exception I can think of is about a kilometer of the alignment leading up to Danshui station).

Landowners along the line generally resist elevated lines due to noise and view issues. So cities tend to build underground when they can afford it.

The brown line, in retrospect, has some serious issues. It should have been built for higher-capacity six car trains (they realized this by the time they planned the Neihu extension, which is why all stations north of Zhongxiao Fuxing have a six car platform length for future use), and it should have had ground access to both platforms.

What you have to remember is the brown line was the first to open. Many people initially opposed the MRT, calling it “unneeded” and overpriced, though it is now universally appreciated as an irreplaceable part of Taipei’s urban fabric. With transit projects, unfortunately you have to make tradeoffs when there is widespread opposition, and you end up with a line like the brown line which is OK, but could have been better for marginal extra cost.


yea compare the brown line to the above ground parts of the red line and theres a big difference. far less hassle to use those ones. if the whole of taipei’s MRT system was like that (with maybe a more attractive aesthetic) it would be pretty awesome.


The Brown Line is not “OK”–it was incredibly expensive to build and is the current shame of the MRT system. The ridiculous blue seats on the newest cars just add salt to the wounds.

On the other hand, scandals surrounding its construction finally broke the KMT’s stranglehold on Taipei City politics in the 1990s. And to their credit, the subsequently built heavy rail lines are approximately one million times better.



It’s a hell of a lot better than most of what passes for “mass transit” where I come from.




You guys gotta get out more.

Besides, Taipei’s tax structure is completely unlike any city I am aware of in North America. The capital here is basically a massive vacuum cleaner grabbing tax revenues from the national coffers and investing it here in Taipei. Cities in North American are not funded this way (it would be political suicide to do so–it’s completely unthinkable). Taipei needs to be assessed accordingly. They get big bonus points from me for figuring things out after the Brown Line design and implementation fiascos. But I am sorry that does not make the Brown Line anything less of a fiasco.



Welcome to Taipei!