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November 24
2014 年 11 月 24 日

台北火車站

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四十幾年前,每隔幾周我必去台北火車站搭乘火車。進出車站、約會見面,容易又方便。

這兩年,我好幾次進台北車站搭高鐵,圖快速;也曾棄高鐵,改搭自強號,圖的是回味舊時悠然慢行的滋味,兼可偷閒在列車上工作。 Taipei Railway Station

有一次正經八百穿著西裝,準備乘高鐵南下台中開會,坐計程車到達台北車站,遇上傾盆大雨,司機把車停在離車站老遠的地方,要我下車。我請求他,能否停靠在車站大門口,讓我避開狂風暴雨,方便下車。他說不可能。經了解情況後,我才知道,因為台北火車站外,雖然有許多上下車的地方,到處都是指揮交通的人員,甚至還有社服志工為人指點迷津,可就是沒有什麼遮擋的地方,讓公用及私家車停靠,或供人避風躲雨。台北是個多雨的城巿,淋雨過馬路,認活該吧。

最近,我反其「道」而行,坐捷運到達台北車站,處身地下,想找東三門與人相會。出了捷運車廂,在地下通道裡東轉西繞,只見左右上下到處都是各式各樣彩色繽紛的標示,就是找不到指引我到東三門或其他門口的指示牌,甚至很不容易找到進出地鐵站、上到地面的標記。

台北車站是火車、高鐵與地鐵的交會點,可以是個方便的車站。車站外,什麼花招都有,為什麼就沒有進出車站可以避雨的走道、擋風的遮篷?火車與高鐵各自有南下或北上的路線,而經過這裡的地鐵主要有兩條線:板南線和淡水線,稱不上複雜。台北車站裡,地上地下,各種標示、廣告應有盡有,簡單的交通要道,被搞得像迷宮似的複雜難行,卻少有指引出站的必要標示。

鄭捷事件之後,大家警覺到,捷運原來存有許多公安漏洞。譬如,聯合報報導,北捷 109 站,卻有 38 站沒有設置逃生門;或者,即使裝有逃生門的車站,也沒有清楚標示緊急逃生的方向,好像並不想讓旅客方便使用逃生門。

所以,台北車站是不是像一個寧願花工夫濃妝豔抹,然而不喜歡洗澡、洗臉的女子?

註:本文曾載於聯合報(2014年10月14日)。

 

Taipei Railway Station

Over 40 years ago, I used to take train rides from Taipei Railway Station every few weeks. It was fairly easy getting into or out of the station then.

In the last couple of years, I have had the opportunity to take high-speed trains from the same station a number of times, which could get me to my destination faster. Occasionally, I would take the Tze Chiang Limited Express instead, so that I could reminisce about the old days when travel was more leisurely and I took the opportunity to do something on the train.

One time, I was all dressed up for a conference to be held in Taichung. Arriving at the station in a downpour, the taxi driver dropped me off far from the station. I asked if he could drop me off at the gate so that I didn't have to walk in the storm. He replied that it was impossible. I learned from him then that while there was plenty of space for dropping off and picking up passengers around the station, there were no designated covered areas for public or private cars to stop so passengers could be shielded from the wind and rain. Instead, you could see throngs of traffic controllers and volunteer social workers giving directions to passers-by.

Taipei is a rainy city. Think of it as bad luck if you ever have to walk in the rain.

Recently, I went to the station on the Taipei Metro (locally known as Mass Rapid Transit or MRT) instead of taking a taxi. I was meeting someone at East Gate Exit No. 3. I wondered all over this underground place after getting off the MRT. While there were colourful posters all over the place, I simply couldn't find directions for East Gate Exit No. 3. I couldn't even find directions for exiting the MRT station to the outside.

The Taipei Railway Station is a transit for the regular trains, high-speed trains and the MRT, supposedly a convenient place for travellers. Both the regular train and high-speed train have southbound and northbound departures from the station. In addition, the station serves two MRT lines, the Bannan Line and Danshui Line. And yet, one wonders why there aren't any covered areas for passengers to get into and out of the station outside the station while they are offering all the other "services"? Or why there are no clear directions for people to get into or exit the station inside the station among a sea of colourful posters and ads.

The 2014 Taipei Metro Attack incident, caused by a university student named Cheng Chieh, made people aware there were safety flaws with the MRT. According to a United Daily report, for example, as many as 38 out of the 109 Taipei MRT stations didn't have emergency exits. Even those stations equipped with emergency exits don't have clear signs indicating where they are located, as if it was none of their business to provide convenience for passengers to use the emergency exits.

Does the Taipei Railway Station remind you of someone who would rather spend time wearing fancy clothes than looking after their health?

Note:
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (14 October, 2014).

24 November, 2014

 

 

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