In a bid to relieve traffic congestion during the six-day Lunar New Year holiday, the Executive Yuan yesterday approved several traffic control measures, including mandatory car pooling on one-stretch of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway and suspension of toll collections on all freeways.
"Our goal is to see holiday travelers spend as little time on the road as possible," Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Ling-san (林陵三) told a press conference after the weekly closed-door Cabinet affairs meeting.
A large number of people living in the north, particularly in Taipei, will return to their hometowns in other parts of the nation during the holiday -- which runs from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5 this year.
The ministry's plans are aimed at relieving southbound traffic on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31 and northbound traffic on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5.
The plans are divided into four major areas -- freeways and highways, railways, aviation and sea transportation.
To reduce the travel time on the eight freeways, Lin said that toll collection will be suspended from midnight to 6am everyday between Jan. 30 and Feb. 6. Traffic control will also be in place at freeway entrances and exits.
Drivers wishing to use Freeway No. 1 (the Sun Yat-sen Freeway) to travel between Taichung and Kaohsiung between 9am and 5 pm on Feb. 4 will have to have at least three people in their car.
Travelers commuting on Freeway No. 1 and No. 3 (the Northern Second Freeway) will also be able to take advantage of the freeways' hard shoulders as traffic lanes during the six-day holiday.
The Taiwan Railway Administration is adding 580 trains to its schedules and offering ticket discounts to middle- and long-distance travels for the holiday.
For travelers who prefer to fly, a total of 8,249 flights will take place between Jan. 28 and Feb. 10, providing an overall capacity of 836,505.