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Yeh urges glitch-ridden eTag to win public trust

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) yesterday reasserted the ministry's intention to continue monitoring Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co.'s (FETC) eTag and customer service systems.

Yeh said that he will personally test those two systems that have caused a lot of disputes as a customer.

“There are three important things that the FETC should do now,” said Yeh. “The FETC should increase the public's trust, provide a satisfying customer service system and finish placing former freeway toll collectors into new positions.”

Yeh also said that the new freeway toll system is too complicated for some people, and now the rates for drivers using freeways during the Chinese New Year holiday are different from current rates, which might be misleading for the public.

“The FETC and the National Freeway Bureau (NFB) should start to promote the freeway rates for the Chinese New Year holiday as soon as possible,” said Yeh.

According to Yeh, some people still think that every time they enter a freeway, they receive 20 kilometers for free. However, the policy states that each vehicle can receive 20 kilometers for free each day.

Yeh also demanded that FETC's customer service representatives answer all phone calls within one minute of the phone ringing.

Regarding the Chinese New Year holiday,” some policies will be different, like free mileages will be canceled and freeway rates will be the same regardless of the distances drivers travel,” said Yeh. “Therefore, these special measures should be promoted to the public as soon as possible.”

NFB Deputy Director-General Wu Mu-fu said on Monday that if the FETC fails to improve the stability and service quality of the eTag system, the company will be subject to a daily fine of up to NT$500,000.

According to Wu, a committee of third party experts will convene within a week to designate a set of key performance indicators (KPI) to scrutinize the FETC and starting from Jan. 30 the KPI will be used to check whether the company is making substantial improvements.

Focus on My Job: Yeh

Yeh yesterday said that he is determined to focus on his job now instead of responding to rumors.

Yeh has been accused of accepting a luxury birthday party held by Senao International Chairman Paul Lin (林保雍) as a thank-you gift for demanding that Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信) purchase Senao's stock, but he denied the accusation.

“I will not respond to any blundering accusations anymore,” said Yeh. “I only want to focus on taking care of eTag issues, Chinese New Year holiday traffic scheduling and other affairs concerning the ministry.”

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Protesters from the Consumer Protection Association of Taiwan (CPAT) hold up signs to protest the new freeway toll collection eTag system in Taipei, yesterday. The new system has been criticized by many since it kicked off in early January. The CPAT stated that the system should be halted until improvements are made in response to complaints from eTag users. (CNA)

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