Hualien-Taitung electric railway ups traffic by 40%
By Joy Lee, The China Post
July 17, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The newly completed Hualien-Taitung electric railway system, along with its new time schedule, was officially launched yesterday with 136 Puyuma express trains joining the operation to boost rail-traffic volume by 40 percent, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) announced yesterday.
The TRA said that the newly finished railway project, which can shorten travel time between Taipei and Taitung to 3.5 hours, was on a trial run from July 1 to July 15, and there were four Puyuma express trains running back and forth between Taipei and Taitung during weekdays, with six of them running between the two destinations on weekends.
According to the TRA, starting from July 16, all 136 Puyuma express trains will join the operation, and 12 Puyumas will be scheduled to go back and forth between Taipei and Taitung on weekdays. Eighteen of them will be scheduled during the weekends.
Aside from the Puyuma express trains, the TRA said that there are eight Tze-Chiang Limited Express trains scheduled to carry passengers between Taipei and Taitung.
The total traffic volume will be boosted by 40 percent during weekends after the launch of the Hualien-Taitung electric railway system, the TRA said.
However, the TRA pointed out that the average speed of Puyuma express trains is higher than the speed of Tze-Chiang Limited Express trains, but the ticket prices for both trains are currently the same.
The TRA has proposed to reduce the ticket price for Tze-Chiang Limited Express trains by 3 percent.
Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said, however, that the 3-percent price reduction on the tickets for Tze-Chiang Limited Express trains is not enough to attract more people to take Tze-Chiang Limited Express trains.
Yeh said that the TRA plans on different ticket prices during different time periods for Tze-Chiang Limited Express trains that could be launched next February.
According to Yeh, the Puyuma express trains that travel from Taipei to Hualien and Taitung will save about two-thirds of its seats for passengers traveling to Taitung since there are more trains going to Hualien.
According to Yeh, many tourists are attracted by the amazing views in Hualien and Taitung, and he believes that with the railway electrification project finished, more people will be able to travel to the beautiful eastern region of Taiwan easily.
Based on statistics provided by the MOTC, over 8 million tourists visited Taiwan last year, and the majority of them were from mainland China. Yeh said that the Tourism Bureau will work on attracting more tourists from other countries to the nation this year.