About 40,000 passengers using EasyCards or other electronic payment systems to pay for commuter train tickets qualify for a refund for the massive delays which occurred on Friday, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday.
The delays were caused by broken power lines at a section of the line between Jhongli (中壢) and Yangmei (楊梅) on the morning of 228 Memorial Day.
Due to the severe damage caused to the electric cables, the railways operator did not resume normal operations until Saturday morning.
Statistics from the TRA showed that 138 trains were delayed by the incident, which in turn disrupted the travel plans of more than 60,000 passengers.
The administration’s refund policy only applies to express train passengers, who can ask for a full refund for delays exceeding 45 minutes. They can apply for refunds up to one year after they experienced the delays.
To appease public anger, Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) suggested on Saturday that the TRA should be more lenient in its refund criteria.
The TRA said yesterday that passengers on trains operating between Keelung and Miaoli from 8:30am to 7:30pm on Friday using EasyCards or other electronic payment systems are entitled to a full refund.
Passengers traveling beyond Miaoli cannot use EasyCards to pay for their tickets.
The TRA said that it would start refunding passengers on Wednesday, provided that they present payment records issued by their card company. The refund policy expires on April 4.
The TRA said a total of 11,164 express train passengers who were delayed by more than 45 minutes because of the incident had already applied for refunds.
Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Frank Fan (范植谷), who also serves as the TRA director-general, said the administration would examine the maintenance records of electric cables, railway tracks and the pantographs on trains during its investigation of the incident.
Meanwhile, in related developments, traffic congestion occurred on some parts of the nation’s freeways yesterday as people returned home on the final day of the long weekend. The National Freeway Bureau estimated that traffic volume on freeways yesterday would be between 1.9 million and 2.1 million vehicles. Freeway traffic volume on Friday and Saturday hit 2.53 million and 2.29 million vehicles respectively.