Fri, Nov 15, 2002 - Page 11 News List

Commuters happy with EasyCards, survey shows

By Angelia Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

More than 90 percent of EasyCard users are satisfied with the efficiency and convenience of Taipei's new transportation passes according to an AC Nielson survey released yesterday.

"The survey shows that 92 percent of users described the cards as time-saving and multi-functional," said David Chou (周鄭福), chairman of Taipei Smart Card Corp (台北智慧卡票證公司), the official distributor of the card, at a press conference held yesterday.

The survey polled 687 Taipei residents between Oct. 28 and Nov. 1.

The new IC-chip embedded EasyCard, first launched in June, allows users to access bus lines, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) trains and 33 public parking lots in Taipei City, simply by touching the card to a card reader installed on buses and at MRT entrances.

Each EasyCard retails for a minimum of NT$500, including a NT$200 deposit. Users can add value to the card in amounts up to NT$10,000 at more than 900 convenience stores and MRT stations.

"This time-saving gadget has really attracted public interest," Chou said. The company sold 400,000 cards last month and is expecting to double that figure by the end of this month, he added.

Yet some transit customers said the EasyCard is not as convenient as they thought it would be. Nearly 19 percent of those polled complained the cards do not cover all bus lines in the Greater Taipei area; while 13 percent said the cards cannot be used at all parking lots in Taipei City.

"Sometimes I have difficulty finding the card readers in public parking lots," said Chang Mei-lan (張美蘭), 52, a commuter. "I don't think I will buy the card again."

While people may be worried about the right fare being deducted from their cards, Taipei Smart Card's Chou said the possibility of inaccuracy is relatively low -- about 0.2 percent.

The nation's largest consumer group, the Consumers' Foundation (消基會), has so far not received any complaints regarding fare deductions, according to Sun Li-chun (孫立群), deputy secretary general of the foundation.

Taipei Smart Card is currently working to increase the number of convenience stores around the city where users are able to add value to their EasyCards.

"We hope to increase the number from the current 900 to 1,800 in the Greater Taipei area by the end of November," Chou said.

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