|Route map for the Airport MRT. The solid purple circles are the express stops. Taipei Main Station is on the far right, and the airport stops (with the airplanes above them) are in the middle.|
Have you been on the Airport MRT? My first ride was about three months ago, on my way back to the States.
Before anyone gets confused, I should say that the Airport MRT is NOT part of the same system as the Taipei MRT. In other words, it's run by a different company. The purpose of the Taipei MRT is to shuttle people around New Taipei City, whereas the purpose of the Airport MRT is to shuttle people between the Taipei Train Station and Taoyuan International Airport. Its official name the Taoyuan Metro, even though most signs (and most people) refer to it as the Airport MRT.
Their English website is linked here. There's also a Chinese version, which has a few more bells and whistles.
|Geographically accurate route map. Taipei Main Station is on the far right, with the airport stops in the middle.|
The Airport MRT can be difficult to find, but if you follow the signs saying "Airport MRT" in either the Taipei Main Station or the Taoyuan Airport you'll get there eventually. The Airport MRT Station near the Taipei Main Station can be accessed from the basement, down a long hallway that leads to an escalator. The Airport MRT Station in the Taoyuan Airport is located below the Arrivals area, down an escalator near a money-changing booth. Again, just follow the signs and you'll get there eventually.
The cost of a ticket between the airport and Taipei Main Station is 160 NT. You can buy a ticket/plastic token for the Airport MRT at the information window, or at one of the machines near the station entrance. You can also use a Taipei MRT "Yoyo card," or most major credit cards. Just scan your card at the gate.
The Airport MRT also sells tickets for 30, 60, and 90 day periods. In addition there's a combined Airport MRT/Taipei MRT ticket that's valid for 48 and 72 hour intervals. The 48 hour pass is 520 NT.
|Fee schedule. Taipei Main Station at the top, the two (working) airport stops are the purple squares halfway down.|
The one thing to be careful of is which Airport MRT you are taking. Two trains run along the same track - the regular and the express. The express train is a lot faster, with only two or three stops between the airport and Taipei Main Station. The seats in the express are also more comfortable, with more room to store your luggage.
One of the cool things about the Airport MRT is the view. It passes through many remote areas, and will at one point extend further south into Taoyuan, far beyond the airport. There is, surprisingly, a rather beautiful stretch of mountains between Taipei Main Station and the airport, with views into developing areas nearer the coast. A section of the track halfway between Taipei Main Station and the airport is also very high up - so high that it almost feels like an amusement park ride.
|The blue train stops at every station, the purple is the express.|
I have no doubt that areas closer to the intermediate stops will start developing quickly, and I'm sure landowners in that area are thanking their lucky stars that the Airport MRT is finally passing overhead. You can see the outlines of future parks and industrial centers all along the line, and I'm sure that in the future some of the train stops will be very different from how they appear now.
While I'm often skeptical about large-scale development projects in Taiwan, I'd have to say that the Airport MRT is (so far) an unqualified success. Gone are the days of taking a bus from Taipei to Taoyuan. Gone are the days of paying taxi drivers too much money to get you to the airport on time. Coming as I usually do from Taitung, getting from Taipei to the airport used to be a massive inconvenience. Now? Now it's not all that bad!
Paradise on Vacation 天堂在放假
Driving from Taitung City and Back Again 從山區開回來台東市
Driving Around Taitung (Last Summer) 在台東開車 (去年的暑假)
Driving between Jia Yi and Pingtung 在嘉義, 屏東一帶開車 1