Sat, Nov 03, 2007 - Page 2 News List

High Speed Rail wants investigative committee formed

MULTITASKING A Cabinet commission proposed that the Aviation Safety Council be empowered to also investigate rail accidents

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government should follow the examples of Japan and South Korea and form a committee to investigate railway and aviation accidents, a transportation official said yesterday.

Bureau of High Speed Rail Director-General Pang Jia-hua (龐家驊) added that railway accidents involving maintenance workers -- and not just the public -- should be investigated.

Pang made the remarks after the Cabinet's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission presented a draft of an investigative act for aviation and railway accidents.

The commission proposed that an aviation and railway accidents investigative committee be established under the administration of the Aviation Safety Council.

The council is primarily responsible for investigating aviation accidents which result in major casualties.

Though the Railway Law (鐵路法) regulates railway operations, the commission said that the law might not be adequate in dealing with safety issues arising from the high speed rail, which operates at speeds up to 300kph.

As a result, the council proposed that the commission be made responsible for the investigation of high speed rail accidents.

In related news, the Bureau of High Speed Rail approved a Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) proposal to offer unreserved seats to passengers at a 7 percent discount.

Pang said the proposal also did away with the requirement for passengers to arrive at the platforms at least two minutes before boarding.

The bureau asked the THSRC to inform the public about the discounted tickets for at least a week before introducing them, Pang said.

Posters would be displayed on the platforms to inform passengers which cars had been designated for unreserved seats, he said.

Meanwhile, train commuters traveling between Keelung and Jhongli (中壢) will be able to use EasyCards in Taiwan Railway Administration stations from March, Vice Minister of Transportation and Communications Ho Nuan-hsuen (何煖軒) said.

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