Sun, Feb 13, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Traffic expected to dwindle as nation goes back to work

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

Traffic on the nation's roads is expected to be less heavy today, as many people already started returning home on Friday, an official at the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau (國道高速公路局) said yesterday.

"The heaviest traffic flow was on Friday and Saturday, when many people drove home to prepare for work or school. Today's traffic will still be busy, but will not be as congested as yesterday," said Chen Ting-tsai (陳庭才), chief of the bureau's Traffic Control Center.

The bureau resumed levying freeway tolls at 4pm yesterday.

According to the bureau, a total of 390,000 vehicles yesterday traveled on the two major north-south freeways between 12am and 6am.

Chen said that traffic is usually at its heaviest on the third day of the Lunar New Year holiday, since many people go back to work the following day. With most schools reopening tomorrow, Chen suggested that people hit the road as early as possible to avoid traffic jams.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Ling-san (林陵三) said last week that he was confident drivers would be able to make the journey from Taipei to Kaohsiung in six hours during the Lunar New Year holiday. But heavy traffic on Friday gave rise to complaints from drivers that the ministry had failed to back up Lin's promise.

Many people were reportedly stuck in traffic jams on the northbound national freeway between 10am and 4pm on Friday. The bureau said that the slow flow of traffic was the result of an unexpectedly high number of cars on the road.

In other news, a man sustained head injuries after he reportedly jumped onto the tracks at the Mingde MRT Station in Taipei at around 3pm yesterday. The man was rushed to the Taipei Veteran's General Hospital, where his condition has been described as satisfactory. MRT officials say they still have no idea why he jumped.

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