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What Is the Taipei Metro? A Tourist Guide
A Taipei Metro Train
The Taipei Metro which began operating in 1996 has played a significant role in Taipei, Taiwan's urban renewal and increase in tourist traffic.
Prior to the opening of the Taipei Metro, there was a lot of traffic congestion, and it was time-consuming and inconvenient traveling to tourist attractions in the northwestern and southeastern suburbs.
In this hub, I first present an overview of the Taipei Metro and then describe the five major subway lines running through the city.
Taipei at Night
Overview of the Taipei Metro
The Taipei Rapid Transit System popularly known as the MRT or Taipei Metro is a rapid transit system for metropolitan Taipei. In Pinyin Chinese, it is known as the "Taibei dazhong jieyun xitong" 台北大众捷运系统. It is co-located with the old existing train systems and a fairly new high-speed rail train system which started running in 2008.
Built by the Taipei City government and operated by the Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation, the Taipei Metro has 108 stations and five main routes. It operates on 131 kilometers or 81.5 miles of revenue tracks. In December of 2015, the Taipei Metro daily riders amounted to 2.15 million.
The Taipei Metro has three main transfer stations: the Taipei Main Station; Zhongxiao Fuxing; and Minquan West Road. By riding on one of the five major lines, you can travel from Xindian in the southern suburbs to Tamsui (Danshui) in the northwestern suburbs, or from Yungning in the southwest to the Nangang Exhibition Center in the east.
At each one of the stations, most of which are underground, trains operate from 6:00 a.m. until midnight daily at intervals of 1.5 to 15 minutes.
Fares are collected through tokens dropped into turnstiles or by smart cards of stored value. While I was in Taipei in November of 2014, I purchased a two day Easy Card pass for 250 New Taiwan (NT) dollars. It included a 50 NT deposit for the card which was returned to me.
With the exception of rush hours, the train cars are spacious and very comfortable with accommodations for the handicapped. When the trains stop at all stations, announcements are given in Chinese Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka, and English.
Many of my Taipei Metro facts are taken from Wikipedia.
Summary of Taipei Metro Major Five Lines
There are five major subway lines running through the Greater Taipei metropolitan area. They include the Red Line or Tamsui-Xinyi Line; the Blue Line or Ban-Nan Line; the Brown Line or Wen Hu Line; Orange Line or Zhonghe-Xinlu Line; and the Green Line or Songshan-Xindian Line. Each one of these lines will be described in detail below.
Taipei Metro Subway Lines and Stations
Red Line or Tamsui-Xinyi Line
The Red Line is the longest and one of the most popular subway lines used by locals and tourists. It has terminal stations at Xiangshan (Elephant Mountain) in eastern Taipei and at Tamsui (Danshui), an old fishing village in the northwestern suburbs.
If you start out at Xiangshan, your first tourist spot will be the 101 Building which up until around 2005 was the tallest building in the world. The next significant tourist site will be the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. After stopping at the Main Station, you will pass through the Yuanshan and Shilin stations. The picturesque Grand Hotel is at Yuanshan, and Shilin is famous for its big night market. Continuing to the northwest, you will get to the Peitou station where you can transfer to a smaller line to reach the hot spring baths at New Peitou. The final tourist destination is the terminal station at Tamsui, an old fishing village. The Red Line is 29.6 km in length and has 27 stations.
The Shihlin Night Market
On the Taipei MRT Red Line
The Blue Line or Ban Nan Line
The Blue Line has terminal stations at Yungning in the southwest and at the Nangang Exhibition Hall in eastern Taipei. Some of the tourist attractions on the Blue Line include the old Lungshan Temple; the Ximending night market near the Ximen or west gate station; the Zhongxiao-Fuxing nearby area for shopping; and the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. The Blue Line is 26.5 kilometers long and has 22 stations.
Ximending Night Market
The Brown Line or Wen Hu Line
The Brown Line has terminal stations at the Nangang Exhibition Hall in eastern Taipei and at the Taipei Zoo in the southeastern suburbs. The Sungshan Airport Station is for use of the domestic airport operating flights to major cities in Taiwan. The international airport is located outside of Taipei to the south near Taoyuan. The Brown Line is 25.7 kilometers in length and has 24 stations.
The Orange Line or Zhonghe-Xinlu Line
The Orange Line has terminal stations at Huilung and Luzhou in the west and Nanshijiao in the south. It is 25.1 kilometers in length and has 27 stations.
The Green Line or Sungshan-Xindian Line
The Green line has terminal stations at Sungshan in the east and at Xindian and Xiao Bitan in the south. It is 21.3 kilometers in length and has 21 stations.
When I visited Taipei in November of 2014, I made extensive use of the Red and Blue Lines. Trains ran on time and got me quickly to my destinations.
Tourists should be warned that the Taipei Main Station is very spacious because it houses the high-speed rail system, the old railroad lines, and the subway lines. Expect to do a lot of walking and make sure you follow the signs which are in both Chinese and English.
The Taipei metro is one of the better mass rapid transit systems in Eastern Asia. Train cars are very comfortable and run to almost anyplace in the Taipei area. The Taipei Metro is also reasonable in price and very convenient for use.
Another Hub Related to Taiwan
- How Has Taiwan Changed in the Past 50 Years?
Taiwan has changed rapidly in the past 50 years from being a developing third world island province to becoming highly developed. This hub answers how Taiwan has changed in the past half century.
© 2016 Paul Richard Kuehn