Drivers should experience fewer traffic woes on Taiwan's freeways this Chinese New Year holiday, as new extensions to the highway system are scheduled to be completed and special traffic restrictions are to be imposed, Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) officials said yesterday.
"Our goal is to to reduce the travel time between Taipei and Kaohsiung to six hours," said Minister for Transport and Communications Lin Fong-cheng (
Lin also announced a plan to integrate the public transportation system with tourism services in order to reduce travel time for holidaymakers. He said the placing of traffic signs would also be made more systematic.
According to Lin, freeways will be toll-free during specific periods of the four-day New Year holiday, beginning at 6pm on Thursday Feb. 3 and ending at 7pm on Tuesday Feb. 8.
The 74 entrance ramps along the No. 1 Freeway will be controlled by a metering system from 7am to 7pm everyday during the holidays.
Certain off-ramps will be closed from midnight on the 4th until midnight on the 7th.
Occupancy requirements will also be in place from 7am to 12pm on the 4th and 7th and only vehicles carrying at least four passengers will be permitted to use the highways.
The completion of new branch lines before the New Year are expected to ease traffic on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (
On the Second Northern Freeway, the completion of the southern stage of the Keelung-Hsichih section (
On the Southern Second Freeway, four branch lines were completed last year -- the Tainan feeder line in August, the Kaohsiung feeder line in November and the Hsinhua-Kuanmiao (新化關廟段) and Yenchao-Chiuju (燕巢九如段) sections last month. The Kuanmiao-Yenchao section (關廟燕巢段) is expected to be finished by Feb. 2.
Meanwhile, to ease the traffic volume in eastern Taiwan and shorten the travelling time between Taipei and Hualien (
Both the National Eastern Highway (
The MOTC is also promoting better integration of the public transportation system to cope with the demands of domestic tourism.
"The goal of the integration project is to reduce the transfer time [between different forms of transportation such as MRT to bus or rail to bus] to under 30 minutes within two years. Hopefully the public will be able to see some results within six months," Lin said.
The ministry has formed a committee to supervise the aviation, bus, railway, tourism, freeway and highway authorities. Prior to the downsizing of the provincial government, the railway and bus administrations were not under the MOTC's authority.
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