Kaohsiung's New Light Rail Drivers／專注上路！第一代輕軌駕駛的挑戰
Kaohsiung's New Light Rail Drivers
◎English translation: Wendy Wei Chang ◎Photos by Pao Chung-hui
"Staying focused is a light rail drivers' most important job," states Mr. Fu Yu-Sheng, Section Chief of the Light Rail's Transit Operations Unit. The drivers have added security concerns as the Kaohsiung light rail must share roads with cars, motorcycles and pedestrians. A driver is required to react quickly at all times and always pay attention.
With the new light rail system opening, the first group of drivers is well-prepared. The drivers have been recruited from Kaohsiung's MRT and therefore have many years of experience operating trains. However in order to safely transition into light rail operations, they were required to complete training sessions in Spain. Light rail drivers differ from those of the MRT as they have different signals, whistles and braking methods. There are also different types of emergencies and safety concerns that the new drivers must learn.
The drivers must pay particular attention to where passengers go after they exit and make sure that no one is on the tracks. Therefore, light rail drivers are not only responsible for operating the trams but also for maintaining the safety of their passengers.
Residents are Reminded to Yield Right-of-Way for the Light Rail
◎English translation: Wendy Wei Chang ◎Photos by Pao Chung-hui, Li Ming-hui
In 2015, Kaohsiung became the first city in Taiwan to open a light rail system. Kaohsiung residents must now learn about the safety concerns that come with trams running congruently with the traffic. "In Spain, when the light rail approaches, people let the trams pass by, even though it holds up the traffic," states Mr. Fu Yu-sheng, Section Chief of Train Operations in Kaohsiung's light rail Operations Center. Mr. Fu, completed training in Bilbao, Spain. He found that in Europe it is common place to yield for trams. "Light rail drivers in Spain do not hesitate to honk when they see slow pedestrians or tourists who do not look as though they know where they are going. Their first concern is to maintain safety," he explains. He emphasizes that the light rail must always get right-of-way at intersections and cars must learn to always maintain a safe distance from the trams.
The Ministry of Transportation has also developed regulations and fines concerning infractions involving light rail trams. Vehicles that are going through any intersection that is used by the light rail must stop, look and listen for trams before continuing through. The laws are similar to those applicable to conventional railroad crossings. If drivers do not yield the right-of-way for the light rail, they can be fined anywhere from 600 to 1,800 NTD. Fines for cyclists and scooters are from 300 to 600 NTD. Fines for running red lights at intersections shared with the light rail are from 3,600 to 18,000 NTD and fines for turning right at a red light can now be from 1,200 to 3,600 NTD.
Kaohsiung's residents are reminded to enjoy the convenience of Kaohsiung's new light rail system but always remember to yield the right-of-way!
噹噹噹！ 輕軌先行 高雄市民再創榮耀
The light rail shares the road with other vehicles. In order to maintain safety, when orange signal lights go on, vehicles must stop before the yellow zone and yield right-of-way for the passing trams.