To prevent traffic accidents caused by driver fatigue, the National Freeway Bureau came up with the bright idea to set up three 24-hour drivers’ lounges along National Freeway No. 1, at the Hukou Service Area (southbound) in northern Taiwan, the Taian Service Area (southbound) in central Taiwan, and the Sinying Service Area (northbound) in southern Taiwan. The lounges offer drivers four hours to recuperate by taking a nap and a shower, at no charge.
Following on from the opening of the drivers’ lounge in Taian on Oct. 15 last year and the one in Sinying on New Year’s Day this year, the Drivers’ Lounge at the Hukou Service Area in Hsinchu County began operations on Jan. 15. Signing in on the register is required to use the service, and almost all drivers, excluding those with infectious diseases or critical illnesses, are welcome to use the facility.
Stepping into the Hukou Drivers’ Lounge is like stepping into a cozy hotel. Peng Jui-ru, a section chief of Ching Mei Security and Properties Group, which is in charge of the management of the Hukou Service Area, told the Taipei Times last Saturday that the interior design — wooden floor, soft lighting, simple and elegant furniture, modern bathroom appliances, and wall decorations — was done by professional interior designers to create a relaxed ambience.
The semi-open male and female lounges are situated to the left and the right of the lobby respectively. The male lounge has seven adjustable beds, while the female lounge has four. Considering the issue of personal hygiene, each bed is covered with a disposable bed sheet. The shower rooms and dressing rooms for both men and women provide shampoo and shower gel, but not towels. There are also hairdryers in both the male and female dressing rooms, the latter of which also offers hairbrushes.
Although the three drivers’ lounges along Freeway No. 1 are primarily established for professional drivers, the recent registration log of the Hukou Drivers’ Lounge shows that the primary users have been ordinary drivers of light vehicles, followed by professional drivers of large trucks and professional drivers of large passenger vehicles. Peng said that the lounge’s rush hour usually occurs around noon during weekdays, so drivers may have to wait at the lobby for the next available vacant bed. As evening nears, drivers tend to use shower rooms more than the lounge room, according to Peng. The Hukou Drivers’ Lounge also accepts telephone bookings up to an hour prior of arrival to save drivers’ time. To make a reservation, call 03-598-2754.
(Lin Ya-ti, Taipei Times)