Rising energy costs may soon force industries to raise prices, industrialists said yesterday.
Consumers may first pay more on transportation fares, as oil prices have been surging since late last year.
"We are considering raising ticket fares as fuel costs keep increasing," Lu Chieh-shen (
The TRA has been reporting losses from declining traffic over the past few years because of the economic downturn and competition from other means of transportation, including long-haul buses and the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit system, said Liu Chih-cheng (
Although the TRA can propose price adjustments every two years, the last set of proposals were turned down by the legislature for political considerations, Liu said. As a result, fares for train tickets, especially short-distance ones, are lower than for alternative modes of transport.
For example, the train fare from Panchiao in Taipei County to Sungshan in Taipei City is NT$18, while the bus fare for the same distance is NT$30 or more.
Long-distance bus operator Kuo-kuang Motor Transport Co (國光客運) said it was considering fare hikes to its administrator, the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau (國道高速公路局), as the company has been suffering losses of NT$7 million to NT$8 million per month because of the rocketing oil prices, said Feng Pao-lo (馮保羅), manager of Kuo-kuang Motor.
Smaller private long-haul bus operator Aloha Bus Co (
Taxi drivers also bear the brunt of the fuel costs and suggested a fare rise early this year. The proposal was withdrawn as taxi drivers feared that customers would turn to mass transportation, said Chen Teng (
Electricity may be the next to rise, as the price of coal has risen from US$27 per tonne last year to US$52 per tonne this year.
"We may propose asking the government to raise electricity rates starting next year," Lee Chuan-lai (李傳來), a public relations official at the state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電), said yesterday.
Last year, Taipower bought 89 percent of the coal it needs for this year, and therefore there was no urgency for the company to raise electricity rates at the moment, Lee said. However, the increased price of coal, along with freight costs that have more than doubled, would cost Taipower NT$20 billion this year, while Taipower is required to give NT$15.5 billion to the government this year, Lee said.
Furthermore, consumers will be billed more for water, as Taiwan Water Supply Corp (