Life on the MRT

The Taipei MRT

  • Love it
  • Hate it

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The design of the MRT stop at the Taipei Train Station is RIDICULOUS!!! There is no organized flow of traffic, people are bumping into each other left and right, I can’t read the direction signs because they are listed on the columns BELOW the standard height of people’s heads, and on the few occasions that I’ve had to go through that station to get out of the station, I’ve gotten lost and spent more time walking around aimlessly than I did riding from one MRT stop to another! I can’t believe how poorly designed that place is… what a nightmare. And sometimes, it gets so crowded… I really wouldn’t be surprised if one day someone gets accidentally shoved into the tracks during rush out traffic. Enough said.

You forgot about the long hike when you want to change lines.


While venting frustration, I would just like to add a few things. WHAT were the designers thinking? They must have assumed that most people would prefer using forms of transportation other than the MRT, because there is certainly no reasonable logic to it’s design so far as being able to accomodate the hundreds of thousands of people that use it daily.

  1. If you were to view a map of the flow of traffic from one line to the other, versus new passengers, you’d see that they are on a direct collision course.
  2. The lines are so long and disorganized (during rush hour) that you may end up missing your train twice! (I have, before!)
    I used to live in Seoul, South Korea, and they have a subway system that must accomodate a population of 13 million vs. Taipei’s 3-4 million. I certainly never encountered problems of this kind there. It’s not an unsolvable problem!

Also, have you noticed that some of the train maps (literally next to each other) are NOT positioned along the North-South axis?

For example, many of the maps are positioned such that the Chung-Hsiao line runs north and south instead of east and west as it should. It’s most disorienting. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen lots of street maps in Taiwan with the same problem. Some of them are even mirrored.

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My word

IS this for real? As far as “what were the designers thinking”, perhaps you could offer your own advice to the engineers next time you want to construct a mass transit system four stories underground below a rumbling train station, skyscraper and elevated freeway.

I suggest you avoid the hassle and take a bus, rather than rip on the local infrastructure. Furthermore, it shouldn’t really matter much which way the north-south axis is pointing on the maps–that’s why they’re color coded!

I tend to find the Taipei Mass Transit System among the best in the world. Timely, clean, organized and safe. TAke the subway out of budapest, or hop on a train in india, and tell me if you have any complaints about “lines” or “cueing up” when you return.

Tashi, if you are referring to the Budapest in Hungary, I must say that their subway system is quite good. When thinking about my two years in Central Europe I can only think of Vienna, Prague and Budapest’s subway systems as being models to be followed by other cities.

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This message is directed to Tashi. Alright, should the opportunity come available for me to submit my own layout of the main station, I would be happy to seize the opportunity. Even a numskull could have devised a more practical layout that would control the flow of pedestrian traffic less chaotically. Furthermore, I have every right to rant and rave about the deficiencies of the transit system if I want to! If you are one of those people that accepts low standards and mediocre architecture and are happy with that, then (while I pity you) feel free to express yourself. But don’t tread on me! I consider myself an activist pushing for the highest standards in all endeavors. If it don’t work, then fix it!

The MRT has become inextricably tied to my life. Sometimes I ride it 5 times a day (more than I log on to Segue). I use up $1000 NT worth of credits a month. I’m starting a thread on MRT stories/advice/questions, etc. What are your strategies for connection? What’s better, pay-per-ride or the Easy (“Yoyo”) Card? What’s your MRT pet peeve? I can’t stand it when someone hogs the whole pole by leaning their whole body against it instead of holding it with a hand to allow others a grab. The Taipei MRT, do you love it or hate it?

I have mixed feelings. I hate it when it’s crowded, because that’s when the ugliness (i.e. pushing and shoving, ignoring children, elderly, and handicapped people) comes out. I’m big enough that I’m kind of hard to push around. I don’t get violent, I just don’t move when pushed, and don’t allow anyone to put a hand on me (I just remove the hand that is pushing me, with a smile).

I’ll admit to having once performed a bit of a rugby tackle on one squirt who shoved my girlfriend. He waited until I he was off the train, then told me I was a ben dan. I sort of agreed with him, and the comment was really hilarious, so I just laughed.

I also find the MRT really convenient, and a great way to save money on transport. So it is worth the hassle most of the time.

I use the EZ card.

I love it, it gets me around where I need to go. Though when it is full it can be a pain as Tomas has mentioned. Just wish they would learn to let people out first, but it will never change.

Anyone else noticed the new music they are using to close the doors in Yung-Ho and Chung-Ho? Seems they are testing a new much softer sound when closing the doors. Only using two stations for the test apparently. I have heard it, it’s interesting. But I feel if they want to do the test right they should turn off the original sound, but they don’t they are using both of them. :unamused: :unamused:

All in all it is convenient and I am glad Taipei has a system!

What I hate is those jerks who use their cellphones on the cars that have explicit signs that read PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CELLPHONE IN THIS CAR.

has anyone else noticed how fast older women (obasan aged) can move when there’s an empty seat on a crowded train? What’s with their elbows, too?

Go, granny, go!


Man, those poles are plague carriers. I’ve seen too many people wipe their shnozzes on their hands and then grab the pole or a handle. I also wonder what percentage of men who use the MRT restrooms wash their hands after taking a whiz? Think about that the next time you’re grabbing one of those rails slick with palm grease. :shock: Me, I practice MRT Surfing Stance, usually using a foot against a wall or a pole base to keep myself standing. :sunglasses:

What exactly is the rationale behind the cell phone-free cars? Does it mess with the electronics on the lead car? If so, couldn’t they just post a sign saying “Turn off your cell phones in the front car”? I don’t recall there being such a rule on other subways, such as NYC and Hong Kong.

The MRT has made Taipei much easier to visit. I get up to the big smoke about 2-3 times a year and the MRT saves me time, a lot of hassle, and taxi fares. The MRT fares are very reasonable, and there is always plenty of eye candy. Does Taipei station still have the “Sod” advert? I didn’t see it the last time I was up.

having grown up riding the new york subways i am amazed at some of the comments above. i look forward to my rides on it, it makes what would have been an impossible commute a pleasure.

big smoke? fill me in almas john

“big smoke” means the big city.

interesting, out in the wastelands of the ny suburbs it’s just “the city” your one is a lot more fun!

The phones don’t mess with the MRT’s electronics, just with the patience of some people who don’t want to listen to cell-phone users shouting “Wei? Wei? Ni zai nali?” for the duration of their rides.

As everyone probably already knows, my pet peeve about the MRT is its stupid approach to romanization. “Kuting” station? Do they mean Guding, Guting, Kuding, or Kuting? It is impossible to know which is the correct pronunciation from the MRT’s bastardized Wade-Giles. :imp:

And then there’s “Tamshui” [sic], which should be “Tanshui” in bastardized Wade-Giles , “Danshui” in hanyu pinyin, or “Tamsui” in the historical spelling reflective of the Taiwanese name for the city.

Oh, ok. I guess I will continue to ignore the sign and keep talking quietly on my cell phone (provided anyone ever calls me) in those cars then. Being obnoxious and talking loudly are things that shouldn’t have anything to do with whether one is doing it on a cell phone or not. I do realize that many people with cell phones think of it as an excuse to do so, but I don’t count myself as one of them.