THSR criticized over ticket price hikes in light of perks
By Annie Yang, Special to The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Criticism of Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) is mounting as Oct. 1's ticket price hike nears, especially as employees will still be entitled to discounts of up to 99.75 percent.
August 28, 2013, 12:24 am TWN
The upcoming price increase will be the first in the public transportation company's six years of operation. Prices will climb by between 7.1 percent 9.6 percent, with the fare for a trip from Taipei to Kaohsiung rising to NT$1,630 from NT$1,490. However, some THSR employees will still be entitled to a massive discount, cutting the price for a Taipei-Kaohsiung ticket to only NT$41.
The fare hike plan has been met with widespread public opposition, especially due to the timing, as electricity fees are scheduled to rise in October as well.
Some netizens have described the plan as unfair and have called for employee benefits to be closely scrutinized.
The high-speed rail firm offers its workers a variety of benefits, including 20 tickets with 50-percent discounts per year for employees who have been with the company for more than six months. In addition, employees can apply for the “Privately on Board” scheme, which offers a 99.75-percent discount.
THSR Public Relations Manager Tao Ling-yu (陶令瑜) emphasized that “Privately on Board” is only an approach of administrative measure to manage its employees, instead of an employee benefit.
Before applying, employees are required to complete related safety training, rehearsal, and tests of cognitive service specification, Tao said. Furthermore, only vacant seats are available, and they are only allocated to those who need help in the face of emergency.
The company will consider neither reviewing nor abolishing the scheme, she said.
To balance out the price increase, however, THSR has promised to expand the range of discounts available for some specific practices, such as 35 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent discounts for early-bird ticket buyers.