Tue, May 13, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Rail administration sets new timetable

PUBLIC TRANSPORTThe new timetable increases travel time for people departing from Kaohsiung and Taipei, but includes more stops at second-tier cities

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A train approaches a station in Ilan County yesterday. The Taiwan Railway Administration has announced that its older trains will be replaced by the new EMU700 commuter trains, starting on Thursday, when a new timetable is to be implemented.

PHOTO: HU CHIEN-SEN, TAIPEI TIMES

The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) yesterday released a new timetable for its trains that is scheduled to come into effect on Thursday.

TRA deputy director-general Chang Ying-huei (撘菜?頛? said the timetable had been updated to make the best use of the 48 Taroko Express train cars and 160 EMU700 commuter train cars it had recently purchased.

Chang said the administration has made some significant adjustments to the timetable.

Trains departing from Taipei, Kaohsiung and Hualien will either leave on the hour or at half past the hour, he said.

To enhance the performance of Tzuchiang Express trains, Chang said, the new schedule includes an increase in the number of stops at some second-tier cities, including Taoyuan, Jhongli (銝剖ㄑ), Miaoli, Fengyuan (鞊??) in Taichung County, Douliou (???) in Yunlin County, Chiayi and Shinying (?啁?) in Tainan County.

The administration also added 13 train stations along the west-coast route geared toward the large number of commuters moving around metropolitan areas during rush hour.

Catering to transfer customers from the high-speed rail service and the Kaohsiung MRT, some of the TRA?? express trains will now stop at the New Tsoying (?啣椰?? Station in Kaohsiung.

New Tsoying Station is currently the final stop of the high-speed rail service.

More express trains have also been added for passengers traveling on the North Link (??艘蝺? and the South Link (??艘蝺?.

Chang said the administration has seen a shortfall of NT$1.66 million (US$53,800) in daily revenues since the launch of the high-speed rail, and has been losing NT$200,000 per day on the east coast since the Hsuehshan Tunnel opened.

??e have lost 13 percent of our long-distance train passengers and we realized that we won?? be able to compete with the high-speed rail service once it reaches full capacity,??Chang said.

The new timetable incorporates many suggestions from commuters, Chang said, such as complaints that the intervals between trains were too long during rush hour.

However, some people fear that the timetable changes would actually increase traveling time for passengers, Chang said.

??he traveling time for those leaving from Taipei or Kaohsiung will indeed become longer,??Chang said. ??ut our survey also showed that we have a lot of customers in Taoyuan, Jhongli, Hsinchu and Chiayi. We need to stop for them, too, even if it means the train is going to have to slow down a little.?

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