Tue, Jan 16, 2007 - Page 2 News List

MOTC announces Lunar New Year travel strategy

PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES The ministry unveiled its plan for the long holiday, which includes special arrangements for air travel and traffic control

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) announced at a press conference yesterday its comprehensive plan to facilitate the transportation of home-bound travelers during the Lunar New Year.

This year's Lunar New Year holiday will begin on Feb. 17 and end on Feb. 22.

The ministry's plan will cover the period from Feb. 15 until Feb. 28.

For air travel, a total of 3,192 additional seats have been arranged by domestic airlines to transport passengers across the nation and to surrounding islets.

A total of 96 charter flights will carry passengers between Taipei and other cities in China.

The ministry will also regulate traffic flow on some sections of freeways by implementing the High Occupancy Vehicle Control (高乘載車輛專用通行時段管制) policy.

While the press was firing questions at Minister of Transportation and Communication Tsai Duei (蔡堆) regarding the transportation plans for the Lunar New Year, high speed rail operations remained the focus of the question and answer session.

Tsai said yesterday that Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp chairwoman Nita Ing (殷琪) had personally called him and informed him that the company would fully cooperate with the requirements of the Bureau of High Speed Rail by providing incident reports as quickly as possible.

Asked whether the ministry would establish a set of benchmarks to evaluate the quality of service, Tsai said some may be found in the Railway Law (鐵路法) and other relevant government statues.

He added that the ministry was entitled to impose a penalty on the company should it fail to improve the quality of its service within a required period of time. The penalty, however, would be predicated on the severity of the problems.

Bureau of High Speed Rail director general Pang Chia-hua (龐佳驊) said yesterday that the bureau had to date received two incident reports. The first incident occurred last Wednesday, when a high speed train departing from Tsoying (左營) was forced to return to the station in Tainan to pick up passengers who were supposed to be on the train.

The other incident involved train delays last Sunday, which were caused by passengers who accidentally set off a fire alarm.

Pang added that the company is currently conducting high speed rail test runs between Taipei and Banciao (板橋).

Should everything go as planned, the inspection on this section might be completed by the end of this month, he said.

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