Thu, Sep 27, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Ten millionth passenger takes ride on bullet train

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA, TAIPEI

Chang Chieh-wen (張潔文), a commissioner at the National Civil Service Institute's Mid-Island Campus, yesterday became the 10 millionth passenger to use the high speed rail, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC, 台灣高鐵) said.

Chang, 50, who makes her home in Chung Hsing New Village, Nantou County, said she only learned the news after boarding a high speed train at Taichung bound for Taipei at 7:38am.

She said she had asked others to book three tickets for herself and two colleagues on Sept. 18, adding that she was surprised to hear that she was the 10 millionth passenger.

Chang said that when she arrived at the Taichung station, she saw a lot of vehicles from TV stations around and thought that she was going to travel with some important figures.

She said she never expected to be the star attraction herself.

"I'm so happy. I feel like I've won the lottery," Chang said.

THSRC vice president Ted Chia (賈先德) presented Chang with prizes worth around NT$72,000 (US$2,180), including 20 high speed rail business-class tickets valid for one year, a set of 12 high speed rail 700T carriage models, and a set of other high speed rail memorabilia.

The other passengers traveling in Chang's carriage received a 10 millionth passenger memorial key ring, Chia said.

He said that after selling the 10 millionth ticket on Sept. 18, the THSRC had set up life-size human figures at both the Taichung and Taipei stations with information to notify the holder of the ticket that they were the 10 millionth passenger, adding that the company did not find out who the 10 millionth passenger was until yesterday morning.

The high speed railway was formally inaugurated on Jan. 5. It reached the 5-million-passenger mark on May 28. The company had originally estimated that the 10 million mark would not be reached until the latter half of next month.

Chia said that the high speed railway currently carried around 1.5 million people per month, adding that in order to enhance its services, the THSRC has increased the number of trains from 38 per day to 91 per day.

The company is considering further increasing the number of trains from November, he said.

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