Inviting the public to help protect the environment by using public transportation, the Taipei City Government yesterday launched the "2005 Public Transportation Month."
Big prizes, including NT$10,000 in cash and MRT value cards to the value of NT$100,000, were made available to lure citizens to experience the city without cars.
Addressing the ceremony, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that about 45 percent of Taipei's residents use public transportation. While the percentage has been climbing over the years, the public-transport utility rate is still low compared to Seoul, Tokyo and especially Hong Kong, where 80 percent of residents commute by using public transportation.
"Taking advantage of public transportation benefits the environment and prolongs our lives with better air quality. So we want to invite you all to discover Taipei by taking the MRT, buses, bicycles or by walking," Ma said yesterday.
The 2005 Public Transportation Month features a series of events, including "Bicycle Week" between now and Sep. 16, "International Taipei Car Free Day" on Sep. 17, and "Walk to School Week" from Oct. 13 through Oct. 16.
Inspired by the "In town, without my car" event held in France from 1998, the Taipei Car Free Day was launched in 2002 and the event will also be held in Taipei County this year. The city government invited the public to ride their bicycles to Huanjian Bridge (
To encourage more people to join the car-free movement, the department will issue a "Super MRT card" that allows unlimited free MRT rides over 1,000 days, which translates into more than NT$100,000.
People who take the MRT more than 10 times before Oct. 16 are eligible to register on the "Car Free Day" Web site at www.dot.taipei.gov.tw/ch/ to enter the draw. Other prizes include a cash "NT$10,000 Giveaway Everyday" and 3,000 souvenir MRT cards. For more information on the events, visit the Public Transportation Month Web site at www.tvbs.com/project/free_car/index.asp.