Fri, Jan 09, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Transport ministry unveils traffic plan for Lunar New Year

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday unveiled its plans to facilitate transportation during the Lunar New Year holiday.

The plan covers traffic between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2. The Taiwan Area Freeway Transportation Bureau said it would only implement its high occupancy vehicle controls — where each car must have at least three occupants — on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31. The policy will apply from 9am to 5pm between Neili (內壢) and Kaohsiung on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1) and between Dashi (大溪) and Jiouju (九如) on the Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3).

On Jan. 28, Jan. 29 and Jan. 30, the northbound interchanges in Tainan, Puyen (埔鹽) and Pingjen (平鎮) on Freeway No. 1, as well as the one in Longtan (龍潭) on Freeway No. 3, will be closed from 12am to 12pm.

The Wangtien (王田) interchange on Freeway No. 1 and Mingjien (民間) interchange on Freeway No. 3 will also be closed.

Both the southbound and northbound lanes of the Toucheng (頭城) Interchange will limit access for large passenger-buses from Jan. 28 to Jan. 31 between 12pm and 7pm.

From Jan. 24 to Feb. 1, the toll-free hours of freeway Nos. 1, 3 and 5 will be from 12am to 7pm, although the bureau will have additional toll-free hours on certain days or at certain toll stations.

The Taiwan Railway Administration has increased the number of trains to 443, including 237 eastbound trains. During peak hours, it could also increase the number of commuter trains. Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp has also increased the number of trains to 308 for the holidays.

Domestic airlines said there would be 757 return flights to Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu between Jan. 21 and Feb. 3.

Both Taiwanese and Chinese airlines will increase cross-strait charter flights.

Civil Aviation Administration director general Lee Lung-wen (李龍文) said yesterday that its Chinese counterpart had capped flights to Shanghai because of the limited time slots available at Pudong Airport. Taiwanese airlines must cut their flights to Shanghai from 36 to 20. Some passengers who bought tickets to Shanghai may be forced to land in Hangzhou instead, which is about a 2.5 hour drive to Shanghai.

Close to 10,000 passengers may be affected by the decision because all five domestic airlines started selling tickets last month.

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