Friday, March 11, 2011

Reason #11 to Love Taiwan

Decent public infrastructure.

We were walking through MRT Jingmei and one escalator was out of service. Reasonable predictions based on experience could be made that it would remain out of service for one day, two at most while being visibly repaired.

"If we were in DC," Brendan said, "and this were the Metro, that escalator would be in that condition for several months."

"No," I replied, "it would look like that, but have more random stairs missing for no reason, with nobody working on it, and it would emit a creepy smell."

"We're talking about the USA as though it's a Third World country."

"Yeah, well, for the most prosperous nation on Earth, I sometimes look at the infrastructure, especially for public transit, and I think 'Really. Really? Is that the best you can do?'"

Of course Taiwan doesn't get off scot-free. Taipei has awesome public transit (sorry, Taizhong) but its sidewalks leave me scratching my head.


J said...

I was saw someone describe the situation in the US as privste wealth and public poverty- I think that's a pretty accurate description.
Also, in Taiwan it's really just Taipei's MRT, and sortof Taipei's bus system and the HSR- public transport elsewhere sucks, and there's no excuse for the TRA to be in the state it's in.

Cahleen Hudson said...

I heard that each business owns the sidewalk in front of their particular storefront, which is why there isn't any uniformity and it's all different heights. I don't know if this is true, but it would explain why I see clerks cleaning the little patch of sidewalk in front of their store. Sidewalks in Taiwan are not stroller friendly or wheelchair friendly, that's for sure. And I'm often forced to either walk with my child in the street or dodge scooters and navigate sudden drops and curbs on the sidewalk. I can manage, but I wonder how disabled people handle it?

Jenna said...

@J: Yeah, I would have labeled this "reasons to love Taipei" if the tag weren't "reasons_to_love_taiwan" because you're right, public transport outside Taipei isn't very good at all (but still better than in the USA).

@Cahleen - I've heard that too. If so, it's a terrible idea. If they're going to do that, there should be some sort of law about uniformity at least in terms of height or slopes for wheelchairs, the blind and strollers.

I don't know how disabled people manage. I get the feeling that they stick to lanes in areas they know that can be navigated in a wheelchair and get a relative or friend to assist them everywhere else.

At least the MRT is handicapped-accessible. It's once you get off the MRT that you have a problem.

Boyd R. Jones said...

There are plenty of places in Taiwan with creepy smells too. The US is generally cleaner by far...