The high-speed rail system will increase the number of scheduled runs and purchase new trains next year to cope with increasing passenger volume, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) executive director Ou Chin-der (歐晉德) said on Thursday.
THSRC would increase the number of scheduled trains after Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 26, as the system’s passenger capacity after the holiday was expected to exceed 50 percent, Ou said.
The exact number of additional runs would be announced at a later date, he said.
At present, the system carries an average of 90,000 passengers per day, with a train capacity between 45 percent and 47 percent.
The system has a total of 30 trains that operate a maximum of 176 two-way runs per day, Ou said, adding that the ceiling was very likely to be reached at the end of next year.
Passenger volume was expected to have reached between 140,000 and 150,000 per day by that time, with a possible maximum volume of 176,000, and was likely to hit 200,000 during peak hours in 2010, he said.
To cope with the continuous increase in passenger volume, THSRC would buy between six and 12 new trains from Japan next year.
THSRC would also consider the possibility of working with Taiwanese companies on the interior design of the trains if sufficiently skilled local designers could be found, Ou said, adding that the new trains would start operating in 2011.
The new trains would be part of a long-term THSRC purchase project that was being carried out in several phases with the aim of increasing the number of trains to 54 by 2033, Ou said.
The system would also focus on attracting passengers by providing better quality service rather than by offering more discounts, as some tickets were already discounted to the tune of 35 percent, Ou said.
Further price cuts would undermine THSRC’s financial management as well as endanger the bus transport industry, the THSRC executive said.