March 28, 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of Taipei’s MRT; a transportation network that created a paradigm shift in the capital city’s urban development. Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (TRTC) has launched events to mark the occasion, including video and audio broadcasts contributed by various artists, and a series of collectible tokens in colors representing the five MRT lines.
Evan Yo, Wang Dawen, Matthew Lien, and other artists, have contributed songs to celebrate the milestone, while the Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Taipei Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Yonghe District Plain Noodles Choir, also contributed music.
The first MRT line was the Muzha Line, also known as the Brown Line, which opened to the public on March 28, 1996. Since then the network has expanded to cover 131.1 kilometers, and covers, not just Taipei City, but the greater Taipei metropolitan area, now named New Taipei City, formerly known as Taipei County.
The system has recently extended to Taipei-Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan County, and is currently in testing phase.
Other cities in Taiwan have emulated the success of the Taipei Metro. Kaohsiung’s MRT system began operations in March 2008, and Taichung City has a system under construction and due to begin operations in 2018.
Metro systems from around the world sent their congratulatory messages by video, including those of New York City and Paris. Meanwhile, commuters were joined by Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who not for the first time took a ride with city residents on the popular system.