Adventures in East Asia

Taipei’s MRT System and the Metro Journey to Taipei Zoo

We loved Taipei's MRT system. Maybe because the country and city of Taipei was fairly compact, we got everywhere quickly via the MRT and trains were frequent making the informative LCD screens, which indicate arrival times, almost redundant. Linh rarely uttered 'are we there yet'..


The MRT system was also quite new having only just become operational in 1996 at a period of time when Taipei was deemed to have been in need of such a network (due to traffic congestion etc).

We got around most of our destinations easily including out of town areas like Danshui since the MRT also stretches out to the north coast.

MRT Seating Arrangements

Our first thought on boarding was to wonder at the slightly sparse seating arrangements which seemed to waste a little space in the middle of the carriage whilst allowing some passengers the awkwardness (or not) of having someone stare at the side of their face. Whilst I still scratch my head at the latter, I realised that with the speed of travel, most passengers may be content with standing and so there was plenty of room for that.


MRT Shopping

Most city metro systems came with a sprinkling of convenience stores and whilst Taipei had plenty of those, there were also a few extended retail areas such as the Taipei Underground Mall that housed a tunnel of shops, extending from Taipei Railway Station all the way to the neighbouring Zhongshan MRT station. Very useful during downpours or in our case, to stay within the air conditioning just that little bit longer.


Two kinds of Trains

Taipei's MRT system used both medium-capacity and heavy-capacity trains. I didn't count, but I guessed they each do what they say on the tin. The key difference we noticed were that the medium-capacity trains used rubber tires making them noticeably smoother and quieter (or maybe that's because they were automated without any drivers or conductors).


In contrast the heavy-capacity trains were steel-tired and were manned by driver/conductors.


MRT Journey to Taipei Zoo

To get to Taipei Zoo, we took the Muzha Line which was actually an elevated line running the medium-capacity trains. Interestingly, it was the only line largely unaffected by a typhoon that hit Taipei in 2001, flooding all the underground tracks. All the heavy-capacity lines took three months before they could resume full operation.


Since the Muzha Line trains were driverless, we managed front row (standing) seats giving us an elevated view of our journey. Train geeks can experience the Taipei MRT flavour by watching this video below.

Wikipedia also has more information on Taipei's MRT system which is most interesting if you plan to visit the city.

This entry posted in : Taiwan.

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