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Far Eastern to pay toll fees for the disabled

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- In an effort to win back its reputation, Far Eastern Group (FEG, 遠東集團) will allocate NT$10 million to pay toll fees on behalf of the disabled minority in the country.

It was reported in local media recently that Fu-Kang Bus (復康巴士) operating in Nantou will charge toll fees from its physically and mentally disabled passengers.

In response to the report, Douglas Tong Hsu (徐旭東), chairman of FEG, decided to allocate NT$10 million to set up a charity fund to pay highway toll fees on behalf of disabled passengers. This endeavor will run long term, FEG said.

Fu-Kang Bus has been transporting disadvantaged passengers in Nantou for medical care in Taichung. Since the bus never runs through toll stations, no toll fees were ever levied. Now that the bus runs on highways, the company will be charged at tolls after traveling for more than 20 kilometers, a charge around NT$20 that will be levied on passengers.

The “Pay as You Go” toll system launched by the National Freeway Bureau was regarded by some as a punishment to the disadvantaged minority.

FEG said that the “ETC charity fund” will pay for toll fees on behalf of 1,224 buses operated by Fu-Kang Bus. The company said that it plans to install eTag in all of Fu-Kang's buses, and all of their toll fees will be deducted from FEG's charity fund. FEG's spokeswoman said that the company will wire additional funds after the initial NT$10 million fund is used up.

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