Tue, Nov 09, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Railway administration denies reports of fare hikes

CNA , TAIPEI

The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) categorically denied a media report yesterday that it will raise its ticket prices after next month's legislative elections.

Director Hsu Ta-wen (徐達文) said that with gasoline prices rising steadily, many motorists have opted for public transport to save money. As a result, he said, the TRA's ticket sales have increased substantially in recent months.

"Against this backdrop, how could we raise train ticket prices at the moment?" Hsu said, adding that the TRA has no plan to raise its ticket prices before or after the Dec. 11 elections.

According to media reports, the agency has drawn up a comprehensive ticket price adjustment plan to be put into force after the elections. Under the plan, the reports said, ticket prices for the "Tzu Chiang" express trains will go up by 11.7 percent; those for the "Chu kuang" express trains will rise 8.8 percent and a steep 38.1 percent price hike will be imposed on the "Fu Hsing" and various commuter train services.

Hsu said the reported plan was recommended by a consulting firm that is helping the agency transform its train services in urban areas into mass rapid transit (MRT)-style commuting services.

"Transforming our urban railways into MRT-style commuting services is our present priority. We'll not consider any price adjustment plans until that priority goal is accomplished. With a view to competing with the high-speed railway scheduled to be inaugurated next October, we may even lower our ticket prices," Hsu said.

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