Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Taipei MRT's Most and Least Popular Stations

Below are the top ten busiest stations in the Taipei MRT in 2011, according to the number of times each station was entered and exited.

1. Taipei Main Station         Bannan, Danshui           113,478,000
2. Taipei City Hall               Bannan                        43,101,000
3. Ximen                            Bannan, Xiaonanmen    42,980,000
4. Zhongxiao Fuxing            Bannan, Wenhu            37,358,000
5. Xinpu                             Bannan                        29,763,000
6. Zhongxiao Dunhua          Bannan                         26,897,000
7. Danshui                          Danshui                        26,564,000
8. Jiantan                            Danshui                        25,753,000
9. Zhongshan                      Danshui                        22,603,000
10. Banqiao                        Bannan                         21,660,000

The top four stations aren’t particularly surprising, given that they are either major transit hubs (Main Station, City Hall), commercial areas (City Hall, Ximen, Zhongxiao Fuxing) or job centers (Main Station, City Hall).  More surprising is the popularity of Xinpu, located in an area with no destinations that I know of.  Anyone who’s ridden the Bannan Line into Banqiao will have noticed that the train empties out at Xinpu; what’s surprising is that this translates into more boardings and exits than in stations like Danshui or Zhongxiao Dunhua that are next to major destinations.  The only explanation I can think of is that Xinpu is next to Provincial Highway 64, linking it to western Zhonghe and Xinzhuang, making it a logical transfer point for bus riders from those areas headed towards central Taipei.  This suggests that MRT lines in Xinzhuang and western Zhonghe areas should get high ridership, though the Xinzhuang Line so far has been pretty disappointing.
Everything else on this list isn’t too surprising, though I didn’t expect Danshui and especially Jiantan to be less popular.  I would be curious to see how much traffic through these stations, and in fact through all stations in the top 10, consists of bus transfers- as popular as both are as leisure destinations I suspect a large portion of their popularity is from transfers.
Also to be expected is the preponderance of Bannan Line stations, given how many major destinations the Bannan Line passes and that it is the only line to connect with every other line.  Even more crucially, it is the only high-capacity line in Eastern Taipei, and the only line to connect Eastern Taipei with very high-population areas in the west.
The Wenhu Line, with much lower capacity than the other MRT lines, unsurprisingly only has one station in the top ten, the one it shares with the Bannan Line.  The absence of the Zhonghe and Xindian branches of the Danshui Line and the Luzhou Line is unsurprising as well, given that those lines all run half as frequently as the Danshui and Bannan lines.

Below are the least-used stations in the Taipei MRT:

89. Nangang Software Park                 Wenhu                      621,000
88. Xiaobitan                                      Xiaobitan                  1,261,000
87. Wanfang Community                     Wenhu                     1,384,000
86. Dahu Park                                    Wenhu                      1,730,000
85. Xinhai                                          Wenhu                      2,036,000
84. Zhongyi                                        Danshui                    2,104,000
83. Fuxinggang                                    Danshui                    2,327,000
82. Linguang                                       Wenhu                      2,589,000
81. Muzha                                          Wenhu                      2,882,000
80. Wende                                          Wenhu                      3,013,000

Again, none of these are very surprising: most of these stations are on the medium-capacity Wenhu Line, and most of them are located on the most distant parts of the MRT system.  Many of them are close to other, more popular stations (Nangang Software Park, Wanfang Community), or are in areas that are only partially developed (Nangang Software Park, both Danshui Line stations).

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