Several new government measures are scheduled to take effect today.
Fixed-line phone users will no longer be charged long-distance service rates when calling friends or relatives outside their city or town, according to the National Communications Commission.
People calling from a fixed phone line will be charged at NT$1.6 per three minutes during regular hours and NT$1 per three minutes in off-peak hours.
An estimated 12 million users of the commission’s fixed-line phone service are expected to benefit from the implementation of the policy.
In addition, 2.1 million ADSL service users will receive a 20 percent reduction in prices, on average. The policy applies to 1M, 2M, 3M and 8M service users.
Mobile phone manufacturers, on the other hand, have to start making chargers equipped with the USB micro-B socket from today. Those who do not offer USB micro-B sockets in their chargers must provide adapters to consumers. The measure will save consumers the cost of buying a new charger every time they purchase a new mobile phone.
Meanwhile, in a bid to boost the domestic market, the Ministry of Economic Affairs will from today through the end of March subsidize consumers who buy energy-efficient air conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators with NT$2,000 per person.
Also today, the “e-Gate” service that will allow air passengers to pass through airport passport inspections in just 12 seconds will be launched simultaneously at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) and Kaohsiung International Airport.
People interested in using the service must present two pieces of ID and an example of their signature, and will be asked to have photographs of their faces taken and have their thumbprints taken.
The service is available free of charge to all Taiwanese passengers, according to the National Immigration Agency.
The National Freeway Bureau said that travelers on the nation’s freeways will from today enjoy an upgraded “1968” speed dial service to get the latest traffic reports, to report a traffic or road situation or ask for roadside assistance from its customer service personnel. The service will be available around the clock.
Previously, the service was only available during regular office hours and did not offer customer service.
The bureau added that smartphone users can download an application that offers the service from the iTunes or Android application stores.
From this month through the end of March, drivers using the phone line will be charged NT$3 per minute if they are calling from their mobile phones and NT$1.6 per three minutes when calling from a fixed line.
The bureau said it is considering covering the costs of calls to the speed line, which it could start doing in April, adding that it is still keeping the free 0800 number operational.
Other measures that are scheduled to take effect this year include the policy requiring backseat passengers to buckle up. As from next month, all passengers found not wearing seatbelts will be fined.
Additional reporting by staff writer