THSR price hikes not 'smart': MOTC chief
By Joy Lee, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) head Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) yesterday said that a decision by Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) to raise ticket prices was not “smart.”
October 29, 2013, 12:22 am TWN
Yeh yesterday reported to the Legislative Yuan's Transportation Committee and was bombarded by criticism and questions from lawmakers regarding the recent upward adjustment in THSR's ticket prices that increased the cost of a round-trip ticket from Taipei to Kaohsiung by up to NT$280.
Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei said that increasing ticket prices will not solve THSR's financial crisis, warning that THSR should not ignore the decisions made by the Transportation Committee.
KMT Legislator Lin Kuo-cheng (林國正) also said that the MOTC could only suggest that THSR abandon a price increase; however, the firm still continued with their proposed price adjustment, a move which did not meet expectations of the Taiwanese people, he said.
Yeh denied lawmakers' allegations that the MOTC tried to help THSR by allowing the company to adjust the ticket prices.
“I personally did not want THSR to increase ticket prices,” said Yeh. “But the MOTC would be abusing its authority were it to demand that THSR not adjust ticket prices.”
Yeh said that, according to regulations and the contract between the MOTC and THSR, the ministry can only respect decisions by the management of the company and verify price adjustment plans for reference.
“I will continue to communicate with THSR Chairman Ou Chin-der regarding the increase in ticket prices,” said Yeh.
Due to the fact that the THSR has not officially responded to inquiries regarding the ticket price adjustment, the Transportation Committee refused to review the budget of the MOTC last week in protest.
THSR held a board meeting last Thursday, and its board members reached a decision that the availability of all new discount promotions launched concurrently with the ticket price increase will be extended to the end of 2014, and more discount promotions will be proposed by the end of this year.