Taipei MRT Luzhou Line 台北捷運蘆洲支線
Yesterday, the Taipei MRT Luzhou line finally opened. Even when I first visited Taipei 7 or so years ago, it was under construction and necessitated traffic detours. Some of the tunnels had to be drilled by hand to not cause too much disruption to other utilities and train lines, but I am still at a loss as to why it took so long to build. The rolling stock is pretty much the same as the train cars on the red and green lines. All the stations (save 大橋頭, which was decided upon well into construction) look the same inside, with the same safety doors, same tiling, same signage, etc. The line is only 6.4km long. Yet, it seems like there has not been much time for dust to settle. The air still smells like concrete and rocks are being blasted away. I’ll just take it as additional motivation not to loiter within the stations and trains.
Good things about the line:
- The signs that show announcements finally show the location of the next train or two. It is similar to Seoul, but lights showing each 1/3 to 1/2 of a station progress are used rather than a screen animating the exact location of the next train.
- Curves in the line are handled such that passengers are not thrown to the side.
- Connections when switching lines to the red line or blue line are very direct. No long hallways.
- When switching lines, if you walk from one train to the next, the next one will leave soon after you enter the train. The transition is well-timed.
Things that could be improved:
- When you are in the train, there is no indication of which stations you are at/near, unlike the Brown Line trains that began service last year.
- The 大橋頭 (Datiaotou) station has unclear signage for the exits and underpasses connecting to the station. I tried exiting via a stairway, but the exit was barricaded. This, despite the fact after later leaving another exit, I could easily reach the other side of the barricade.
- As noted above, the air quality within the Luzhou line trains and stations is poor from remaining construction dust. Hopefully this will be a temporary thing.
I don’t actually live near the Luzhou line, and given that most stations on the line are elementary, middle, and high schools, I don’t have any particular reason to travel to a destination on the line either. The park at Luzhou station (the terminus) is not completed either. So as a person that lives elsewhere, it seems this line will only increase congestion as it will allow people from Sanchong to travel into the rest of the MRT system. While there are plans for three more east-west lines, only the blue line is open now, and has already been overtaxed to the point they should have workers with canes shoving people into the cars as they do in Japan during rush hour.
At least some of the station art is interesting: