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June 24, 2017

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Government hard-pressed to satisfy expectations of former toll collectors

At the end of 2013, the new freeway toll system was primed like an arrow in a bow, ready to take flight. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) promised that the new electronic freeway toll system, developed and controlled by the Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co. (FETC), would save freeway users time and reduce the frequency of traffic jams. Good news for drivers, of course.

However, there was a group of people who were not too excited about this new change; they were 940 freeway toll collectors — the people who stand inside the little tollbooths to collect cash or vouchers from drivers. After the tollbooths were demolished, the war between the former freeway toll collectors and the FETC was launched along with the new freeway toll system.

The FETC signed a contract with the MOTC, promising to help former toll collectors willing to be placed in new jobs to find positions. However, for some former freeway toll collectors, the promise was merely talk without action. In March, a hundred former highway toll collectors protested in front of the MOTC hall to fight for their working rights, which they say the ministry failed to protect. They said that the results of negotiations that came from the MOTC's National Freeway Bureau (高公局) and 10 representatives of the highway toll collectors were questionable, so they demanded that the MOTC launch new negotiations.

FETC's Plan 'unrealistic': Former Workers

The ex-toll collectors also claimed that the FETC's plan to arrange new jobs for former highway toll collectors was not realistic. Take Yunlin County for example, said Lin Pi-huang, head of the self help organization for toll collectors. The FETC provided two positions at Mos Burger, according to Lin, but there are still 70 to 80 former highway toll collectors waiting for a job opening.

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