The Taipei MRT is Your Best Friend – Part 1

The journey of a thousand miles all over Taipei begins with the Taipei MRT (assuming you won’t hire a private car hehe). You need to build not just a friendship but a BFF status with this awesome transport system.

Seriously though, it will be your key access to everything in Taipei especially if you are pressed for time but still want to create your own adventure. Whether you plan to stay within Taipei or tour around Taiwan, I think the Taipei MRT would still be your default means of transportation unless you  hire a private car to go around the island or choose to book your accommodations outside of Taipei.

So to help you build that crucial love-and-no-hate relationship with this efficient means of transportation, here are the basic things you must know about the Taipei MRT.

First Things First: The Lines You Shall Cross

The Taipei MRT is made up of color-coded lines that correspond to the major districts within the region.

The Taipei MRT map (source: http://www.trtc.com.tw)

Each station along the Taipei MRT has the map above to guide you where you need to hop on and off. I personally think that there are only two things that you need to remember when riding the lines: the MRT station nearest to your accommodation and the MRT station nearest to your chosen destination.

See the bigger solid black dots on the map? These refer to the common points where the different color-coded lines meet and where you can switch between lines especially if you are coming from another district. The Red Line traverses a scenic view. The Blue Line goes along the Xinyi district and gives access to Taipei 101. The Yellow Orange line runs along schools and universities. The Brown Line connects to the Taipei Zoo and Maokong Gondola (and IKEA!). The Green Line is your gateway to the southern part of New Taipei City.

Operating Hours

The Taipei MRT needs rest too. Between 6AM-12:00 AM, you may rely on its efficient service to tour you around Taipei and New Taipei City.

Note though that the 6AM-12AM cut-off is applicable from the end points on every line only. So if you want to ride the MRT during its first and last trip, refer to your MRT station’s first and last trip schedules so you would not be able to miss it. It’s usually posted beside the fare gates or the fare booths.

For example, the last trip of the MRT Red line-Green line would be 12AM from Tamsui and from Xindian. If you happen to be on Qilian pass 12AM and you want to go down south, you can still ride the last trip at 12:15AM because the last trip from Tamsui leaves at 12AM and would stop over at Qilian fifteen minutes after the said time.

Ticket to Ride

These are the booths that sell my favorite card in Taipei: The EasyCard.

Taipei MRT fare booths have English-speaking attendants.

EascyCard vending machines

Actually, there are many different fare options that you can buy but I’m only including those that are often used–two of which I’ve personally tried:

Photo source: http://www.easycard.com.tw/english/easycard/index.asp

EasyCard – I love it because it’s much more than just an MRT card. This also doubles as a Yoyo card which means that you can use it to buy other things within Taipei: bus fare, taxi fare, convenience store purchases, etc. The EasyCard also gives you a discounted fare to every destination point within the Taipei MRT lines.

If you want to buy one, you need to shell out 200 NTD–100 of that goes as your fare while the other 100 is as deposit. In case you want to return it back, you can get your full 100 depending on the condition of your card. Also, the 100 NTD deposit is used as your backup fare in case you only have less than the required fare left while still within the Taipei MRT.

How to reload: You may use the farebooth for reloading but if you want to avoid queuing up for those booths, you can also find EasyCard vending machines by the fare gates. You can also reload this for a minimum of 100 NTD.

Photo source: www.jaunted.com

Blue Tokens – These tokens can also be bought from vending machines and fare booths. Unlike the EasyCard, you don’t need a deposit to purchase one, you just need to know which station you plan to get off from. However, these tokens are really just for the Taipei MRT and costs the full original destination fare.

Photo source: http://www.easycard.com.tw/english/taipeipass/index.asp


All-Day Pass cards – I’m sorry folks, but I have never tried buying one and have no intention to do so. 😛 So for this, you have to ask the Information Counter for more details as these folks would be nice enough to give you an idea of the card’s perks and privileges.

The good thing about this card though is that you wouldn’t need to reload it and if you buy one, say 300 NTD’s worth, you can have unlimited Taipei MRT rides within the day of purchase and also a free entrance to some famousTaipei tourist spots.

That’s it?

Of course…

NOT!

There’s definitely more. 🙂

So now that you know the basics of the MRT station, the next important thing to know is MRT etiquette and the useful facilities around that can help make your trip more convenient.

Since you want the Taipei MRT to be your best friend, it is important to note that this only happens via a give-and-take relationship. What does that mean? You will find out in the next post.

In the meantime, and if you want more details on the stuff I mentioned above, you may also read up from the following websites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taipei_Metro
http://www.trtc.com.tw/
http://eng.taiwan.net.tw/m1.aspx?sNo=0011180

To be continued…

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