Sun, Mar 16, 2008 - Page 2 News List

THSRC offers lower fares for traveling on weekdays

DISCOUNT The United Bus Co spokesperson Bai Te-tsun described the scheme as a THSRC strategy to wipe out the entire domestic transportation industry

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Starting March 31, business-class passengers on the high speed rail will receive a 36 percent discount if they take the train between Monday and Thursday, the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) said yesterday.

The new discount scheme will also allow passengers holding tickets for unreserved seats in the standard class cabin to receive a 28 percent discount. Those taking the standard class will enjoy a 20 percent discount as well.

The company already gives a 20 percent discount to business class passengers and 10 percent discount to passengers without reserved seats in the standard class cabin. The scheme will grant passengers an additional 20 percent discount beyond the discounted price for both services.

From Taipei to Kaohsiung, for example, the ticket price for business class service was originally set at NT$2,440 per person, and NT$1,490 for the standard class service.

After the discount, tickets for business class seats will drop to NT$1,560 and NT$1,190 for the standard class. Tickets for unreserved seats will only cost NT$1,070.

Ted Chia (賈先德), assistant manager at THSRC's Public Affairs Division, said the scheme will continue until June.

He said the company chose to start implementing the new discount scheme on the last day of this month rather than on April 1 because that day happens to be a Monday.

Chia, however, refused to say whether the company would extend the discount scheme beyond June, adding that the company will consider the market demand before they make the next move.

Chia said this scheme is used to distinguish the price difference between weekdays and weekends.

In response to the THSRC's move, Minister of Transportation and Communications Tsai Duei (蔡堆) said the discount plan would potentially attract more car drivers to utilize the high speed rail.

Tsai said he does not think it will worsen the plight of the domestic airlines, which have suffered declining sales ever since the high speed rail began full operation.

"The fact the Kaohsiung MRT system has started to operate will help sustain the Taipei-Kaohsiung flights for some time," he said.

The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) should not engage in a price war with the THSRC, he said, rather, it should focus on its strength in transporting commuters and passengers along the east coast.

The United Bus Co spokesperson Bai Te-tsun (白德存) described the scheme as a THSRC strategy to wipe out a entire domestic transportation industry.

Kuo-Kuang Motor Transport Co chairman Lee Hong-sheng (李宏生) said the freeway bus operators can not lower their price any further because the rising gas prices has drastically increased their operational costs.

"It's going to be a bloody war if we choose to follow in their steps," Lee said.

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