Transport tips for Lunar New Year holidays
By Christine Chou, The China Post
February 3, 2016, 12:01 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Traffic volumes next Sunday and Tuesday will likely rocket to more than 3 million this Chinese New Year, despite expectations that the longer than usual 9-day holiday would help dilute traffic, according to officials from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC, 交通部) on Tuesday.
Lower oil prices and cold temperatures are potential reasons that highway traffic will increase by 10 percent this year, predicted ministry official Wang Mu-han (王穆衡).
Wang said traffic volume may fall between 2.1 million to 3.1 million at rush hours, more than two times the low traffic flow.
The National Freeway Bureau (NFB, 高公局) stated on Tuesday that the highway traffic volume in the north-south direction would start to rise to over 2.6 million vehicles. And next Thursday, the third day of the New Year, traffic will reach its peak at around 3.1 million cars and will not ease up until Friday.
During periods with high southbound car flows — Feb. 8 and Feb. 9 — there will be a temporary roadblock on the southward lane of Pingzhen (平鎮) Interchange on National Freeway No. 1 from midnight to 6 a.m.
On Feb. 11 and 12, when there is expected to be heavy northbound traffic, officials will set a car limit on routes between Kaohsiung (高雄) and Hukou (湖口) on National Freeway No. 1 and between Jiouru (九如) and Dashi (大溪) on National Freeway No. 3.
Also, on Feb. 10 and Feb. 12, there will be a 24-hour restriction to block all cars from driving through the southbound lanes of Puyan (埔鹽) and Tainan (台南) interchanges on National Freeway No. 1, as well as the Zhunan (竹南) Interchange on National Freeway No. 3.
There are still tickets remaining for the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR, 高鐵) — an estimated 2,065 trains will be running between Feb. 4 and Feb. 15. NFB officials suggested that there are still available seats for direct trains heading south from Feb. 7 to 10, and for direct trains heading north from Feb. 11 to 14.
There are also relatively more tickets for trains that stop at every station, added officials.
Long-distance tickets from the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA, 台鐵) have sold out, but there are still seats on offer for trains that travel shorter distances, according to the MOTC.
The Directorate General of Highways (DGOH, 公路總局) stated it had prompted the addition of a significant amount of long-distance buses in an effort to ease traffic congestion over the holidays.
Bus routes around the country can be found through the government-run highway bus information website called "iBus," also downloadable as a mobile app.
Greater Taipei residents will observe only half of its usual buses operating between Feb. 7 and Feb. 12. Routes that usually don't provide services on weekends will not operate on New Years Eve and New Years Day. More information can be found on the Taipei Bus Information website, "5284."