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TRA promotes train-bus service, offers Puyuma train tickets

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) advised passengers to take advantage of combined train-bus transport services to cut costs while booking train tickets online during the long Chinese New Year holiday period.

Officials said a total of 406 extra trains will be provided while more coaches will be added to 1,403 regular train runs during the 12 days from Feb. 7 to 18 to meet the sharply increased needs of passengers,

Multiple online ticket booking for trains on Taiwan's East Coast via the Internet, telephone and convenience stores will begin tomorrow while the same service for the West Coast line will start one day after.

Meanwhile, the TRA under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications will formally launch the new Puyuma (普悠瑪號) express train service on the East Coast on Feb. 6.

It will also start accepting online ticket orders for seats on the elegant trains for the New Year holidays starting from Jan. 22.

Officials said the TRA will cooperate with Capital Bus and Kamalan Bus companies for efficient transfer services.

People traveling from Taipei to eastern Hualien may take buses to Luodong of Yilan and then change to commuter trains to Hualien at a cost just half that of the Tzuchiang-class express trains.

Those coming to Taipei from Hualien may first take TRA trains to reach Luodong and then transfer to buses, which leave for Taipei at an interval of every 5 to 10 minutes.

It will take only about 2 hours and 40 minutes for the whole Taipei-Hualien trip, about the same for the TRA's Tzuchiang express service, they explained.

The TRA started such transfer service at Luodong on Dec. 18 last year for passengers traveling between Yilan and Hualien. The number of express trains for the combined service has since been doubled to meet the needs of more customers.

Officials said the inaugural Puyuma express train to eastern Hualien is scheduled to leave Shulin Station on Feb. 6 and the train will leave the TRA's Taipei station at 9:40 a.m.

There will be 56 extra runs added during the Lunar New Year holiday season to add 2,000 seats for people returning home for family reunions or tours.

Each of the Puyuma express trains will have 16 seats for four groups of passengers using the four-seat tables in the fourth and fifth coaches of the train.

Passengers wishing to use the special seats are required to purchase group tickets for four people in each transaction, said the TRA officials.

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