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May 28, 2017

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FETC fails on new highway toll system, to be given makeup exam

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said yesterday that the performance of Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co. (FETC) with regard to the new highway toll system ETC failed to meet the standards set in the contract.

However, Yeh said, the FETC will receive a makeup test based on regulations set within the contract between the firm and the National Freeway Bureau (NFB, 高公局).

Yeh was invited to report at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's Transportation Committee on the ETC system, where Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) asked him to grade the FETC based on its performance operating the ETC system.

Yeh said that he was not satisfied with the FETC's performance.

"The FETC did not treasure its own reputation and the ETC system has been causing problems for highway users and the government," said Yeh.

Due to the FETC's contract with the NFB, Yeh said, the company will be given another chance to improve its performance.

The legislator said that after the new highway toll system was launched at the end of last year, the initial issue where drivers were falsely charged has mostly been solved.

However, legislators said, people still complained about the NT$5 handling fee that the FETC charges when people make highway toll fee payments at convenience stores.

The NFB demanded in March that the FETC stop charging people the handling fee from April 1 based on a Legislative Yuan resolution, but the FETC refused to do so, claiming that the demand was not included in the contract.

Many legislators from the ruling and the opposition parties made extemporaneous motions yesterday to ask the FETC to stop charging handling fees for those who make payments at convenience stores.

DPP lawmaker Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) said that according to regulations, people should not be charged handling fees when paying the highway toll fees, and the FETC even asked people to pay when calling the company's customer service.

Yeh said that the ministry already demanded that the FETC stop charging people handling fees as well as provide a toll-free customer service number.

According to Yeh, the ministry expects to solve all the issues with the FETC by the end of this May.

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