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Railway administration faces lack of train drivers, technicians: report

The government-owned Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) is still faced with shortages of train drivers, co-drivers and maintenance technicians in spite of continuing recruiting and training programs, a Chinese-language report claimed yesterday.

The TRA needs 1,500 drivers in total, but it has now only around 1,200 drivers with reliance on co-drivers to take up the jobs. It normally takes two years to train one qualified train driver, said TRA officials.

Many well-trained train drivers are regularly promoted as station masters or other senior positions to create many new vacancies.

There is also an acute shortage of technicians to maintain the locomotives and train cars since the TRA has around 450 people retiring each year and most of them are technicians.

In addition, many young and experienced drivers and technicians have been lured away by other organizations offering better pay, including Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. (THSRC) that provides bullet train services.

Officials said TRA has continued recruiting new personnel and giving training programs to cultivate adequate personnel. They said the TRA, which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, should have enough train drives and co-drivers before the end of next year.

But it could take a longer period of time to groom adequate technicians. There is now a constant need for technicians to work overtime, they said.

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