6-hour highway trip between Taipei and Kaohsiung on CNY
By Joy Lee ,The China Post
December 26, 2013, 12:13 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- One-way travel between Taipei and Kaohsiung will take six hours during the high-occupancy control period on the Chinese New Year holiday, Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said yesterday.
The high-occupancy control period is a period of time during the Chinese New Year season when all vehicles on Taiwan's highways must have three or more occupants. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has not set the exact date and times of this year's high-occupancy control period.
Yeh said that after the new highway toll system, which will charge drivers based on the distance they travel, is implemented, drivers will not have to slow down when passing through highway toll booths.
“The Ministry of Transportation and Communications sets the target traveling time between Taipei and Kaohsiung at six hours during the high-occupancy control period of the Chinese New Year holidays,” said Yeh.
According to Yeh, the average travel time between Taipei and Kaohsiung will be around five to seven hours when there is no high occupancy control on the highways.
According to the MOTC, highway tolls will be adjusted to NT$0.9 per kilometer during the Chinese New Year holidays and the free 20 kilometers per day usually provided for each vehicle will be canceled during the holidays.
Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Luo Shu-lei(羅淑蕾), however, said that drivers who do not have electronic toll collection (ETC) systems installed will actually have to pay more for using highways.
Yeh said that during the holidays the highway services will focus on drivers who travel longer distances because drivers who travel short distance can choose to use local routes instead of highways, which can help divide traffic flow.
“With the highway toll adjustment during the Chinese New Year holidays, the MOTC's income from highway toll fees will actually decrease, so the ministry will not try to earn more money from this fee adjustment,” said Yeh.
Railway Electrification on East Coast Delayed
Yeh yesterday said that the completion of the current construction on railway electrification for the east coast rail line will be delayed until next June.
According to Yeh, estimates say that completion of the construction will take around seven years, but the construction team aimed to finish the railway electrification work by the end of this year in order to respond to the expectations of people living along the east coast.
“The target completion time frame was too ambitious, and several typhoons and earthquakes took place during the construction period that forced construction to be shut down temporality and resulted in a delay of railway electrification work,” said Yeh.
“The railway electrification work can be completed by the end of next June,” said Yeh. “However, the construction team will definitely not sacrifice quality in order to speed up the construction process.”
East Coast Line Adds 6,000 Extra Seats
Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) Director-General Frank Fan (范植谷) yesterday said that there will be 6,000 extra tickets for trains traveling between Taitung and other cities during the Chinese New Year holiday season.
According to Fan, six special trains will be added, with 12 compartments in each train during the holidays.
Fan also said that 11 Puyuma (普悠瑪號) trains will be put into service for east coast travelers during the upcoming holidays, which will increase passenger capacity by 25 percent.