Thu, Nov 30, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Taipei-Kaohsiung route taken away from Free Go

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) announced yesterday that the Free Go Bus company will not be able to operate a Taipei-Kaohsiung freeway route for three months as of Tuesday.

Agency officials told a press conference that the company would be fined NT$90,000 and would have to surrender the license plate of the bus that hit an oil truck and a towing truck on a freeway two weeks ago.

The officials said the proposal to suspend the company's contract had been sent to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications' review committee to be approved. Since the contract with the ministry will not expire until Dec. 21, the agency will propose revoking the company's right to operate the route immediately.

Deputy DGH Director-General Chen Chun-hsiung (陳俊雄) said the agency has had to ask Free Go Bus at least six times to report on all accidents, but the firm's safety record never seemed to improve.

Free Go Bus' Taipei-Kaohsiung route will now be operated by three other companies: King Bus, UBus and Aloha Bus.

A statement from the agency yesterday noted that Free Go Bus owns the right to operate on eight freeway routes, and has 169 buses and 193 drivers. It is supposed to have 254 drivers, however, because regulations require there be a 1-1.5 ratio of vehicles to drivers, the statement said.

Employees' complaints that they would lose their jobs because of the agency's decision were baseless, the statement said.

The statement also said that all the license plates of the buses used on the Taipei-Kaohsiung would be withdrawn.

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