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Greater Taipei taxi fares to rise for Chinese New Year

TAIPEI, Taiwan --Taxi fares in Greater Taipei will be subject to a 20-percent hike and have a flat fare apply all day during Chinese New Year from Feb. 7 to 20, the Taipei City Government said yesterday.

The city's Department of Transportation (DOT) said the temporary policy will be effect in both Taipei and New Taipei City, excluding Tamsui (淡水), Wulai (烏來) and Ruifang Districts (瑞芳) in New Taipei City.

The official said the price rise will begin midnight on Feb. 7, two days before Lunar New Year's Eve. Apart from charging by the usual late-night meter standard, which is a 20-percent increase of the fare, an additional flat daytime fare of NT$20 and of NT$40 between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. will also apply.

Besides the 20-percent taxi fare increase, the flat fare in Tamsui will be NT$50 in the day and NT$70 at late night; Ruifang and Wulai will apply a 40-percent increase, and an extra flat fare charge of NT$20 between 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., due to the special traditions of those areas, the DOT said.

Officials have called on taxi drivers to comply with the rules regarding the temporary policy, adding that if the drivers attempt to raise their fares further, passengers can file complaints by calling the 1999 Citizen Hotline.

Chauffeur Service Encouraged

The DOT said that during the Chinese New Year holiday, many incidents of driving under the influence (DUI) are reported. The DOT encourages citizens to return home by taxi after drinking to avoid accidents. A chauffeur service is another option for people to return home safely after drinking, and there will be no price hike for such services, the DOT added. Ten taxi companies have joined the chauffeur program, the DOT said.

Since the city promoted the service of allowing taxi drivers to drive people home in their own cars last August, the 10 taxi service providers who have joined the scheme have had an average of 200 customers per month, according to city government statistics. This shows that people are gradually learning about the dangers of DUI, and thus rather are seeking other means to return home rather than driving themselves, the government said.

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