Many motorists had a smooth ride home yesterday as they packed the freeways, headed for family reunions on Lunar New Year's Eve.
To ease the risk of gridlock, the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau announced earlier that freeway toll booths would close from 12am to 12pm yesterday. Between 7am and 12pm, the High Occupancy Vehicle Control policy was in effect, which requires drivers to have at least two passengers before their vehicles can use the freeways.
Those policies encouraged some travelers to leave early. Bureau statistics show that traffic volume between 12am and 6am was 378,000 vehicles, about three times more than a normal day. But that was 80,000 fewer vehicles than the same period for last year's holiday.
Before 7am yesterday, traffic was slower between Neili (
By 8:30am, however, the average speed in almost every section was reaching 80kph due to the implementation of the vehicle control policy.
The bureau said it discovered that quite a few people chose to leave a day early to avoid the New Year's Eve traffic.
On Monday, the traffic volume on all national freeways topped 1.79 million vehicles, a 15 percent increase over a normal day.
Southbound and eastbound express trains and the High Speed Rail were packed with passengers yesterday. The occupancy rate of southbound trains departing from Taipei Railway Station was estimated at between 80 percent and 90 percent.
No serious delays were reported at any domestic airports yesterday. Flights to some of the outlying islands still had seats available.
Meanwhile, many people hoping to see snow on Hohuanshan were stuck in traffic yesterday morning as landslides were reported on Provincial Highway 14. Road maintenance crews had removed the debris in that section at press time.
In related news, President Chen Shui-bian (
The video began with footage of people from all walks of life at work, including police officers, bus drivers, street cleaners, grocery store clerks, factory workers, farmers and fishermen.
Comparing the ups and downs of life to the ocean waves, Chen said that people who have been unsuccessful must not lose hope.
"We used our will and strength to find dignity at difficult times and change the course of our destiny," Chen said.
"Taiwan does not have many national resources, but we have hardworking people ? God bless Taiwan."
Chen handed out red envelopes at his residence on Minsheng Road in Taipei early yesterday morning.
He will hand out red envelopes at his family residence in Kuantien Township (
Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling and CNA
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