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Freeway fares may vary over holidays: MOTC

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Different freeway fares might be applied to various sections during special hours of consecutive holidays, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) announced yesterday.

Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said that the traffic conditions during this Chinese New Year holiday were better than during past holidays due to the new freeway electronic toll system.

“Plus, the policy to use different freeway fares also helped to adjust the traffic flows during the holiday,” said Yeh. “Therefore, I grade 80 out of 100 points for the freeway traffic for the holidays.”

The MOTC said that it will invite the National Freeway Bureau (NFB) to speak regarding the possibility of applying different freeway fares during holidays that last over three days, like the upcoming 228 Memorial Day and Tomb Sweeping Day.

According to the MOTC, different policies, including free-of-charge periods on freeways at night, various fares for traveling on different sections of the freeways and high occupancy control might also be carried out during consecutive holidays.

Tseng Dar-jen (曾大仁), head of the NFB, said that it has entrusted National Chiao Tung University to conduct research on how to calculate freeway fares and analyze the traffic flow statistics from the Chinese New Year holiday as the marker for the future transportation plans that will be applied during consecutive holidays.

Tseng also said that since each consecutive holiday is different, the NFB will consider changing the freeway free-of-charge period back to seven hours instead of the 10 hours from this Chinese New Year.

According to Tseng, considering the fact that most people are not yet very familiar with the new freeway electronic toll system, the NFB will still carry out the free-of-charge period at night, but the total hours in which they will not charge drivers using freeways will not be announced until the officials can reach an agreement on the policy.

10% Increase in Traffic Flow for CNY Holidays

The NFB said that the number of vehicles hitting the freeways this Chinese New Year holiday increased by 10 percent compared to the number from last year.

The number of vehicles traveling within short distances has also increased as well for the holidays, according to the NFB.

Leu Wen-yuh (呂文玉), director of the NFB's traffic management department, said that due to the fact that there were only six days off for the Chinese New Year holiday, the number of people who traveled domestically rose dramatically, leading to an increase in traffic flow this year.

According to the NFB, the number of vehicles using freeways on the third day of the Chinese New Year holiday was 2.88 million in 2011, the last holiday to have six days off, while the number reached 3.12 million on the third day of this year's holiday.

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