Tickets to go on sale
Starting tomorrow, the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) and Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC), as well as airlines operating flights to Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu, will allow the public to start reserving tickets for the Lunar New Year holidays. Passengers traveling to the East Coast will be able to reserve TRA tickets online starting at 6am, whereas those wanting to book southbound tickets along the West Coast will have to wait until Thursday. THSRC, on the other hand, will start taking ticket requests at 12am tomorrow. The company announced earlier that it would continue implementing its dual-color scheme, where passengers boarding trains marked blue on the schedule will be given 15 percent discounts. Those taking trains marked orange will be given 35 percent discounts. Trains with discounted fares mostly operate during non-peak hours.
Voucher hotline launched
The Cabinet launched a free consumer voucher consultation hotline yesterday as part of its preparations for the upcoming consumer voucher scheme. Anyone with questions related to the scheme can dial 0800-88-3600 using a regular phone or 02-412-3600 with a cellphone, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) told a press conference yesterday. The hotline will be available between 8am and 10pm every day through the end of September, Liu said, adding that 35 personnel will man the phones even during the Lunar New Year holidays.
Shih confirms Lee meeting
Former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) yesterday confirmed media reports he had a seven-hour closed-door meeting with former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). Shih denied he was planning a third force in domestic politics and that the meeting was about the “Taiwanese dream for the 21st century.” Shih made the remarks during a press conference in Taipei, where he said he hoped that Taiwan would be able to overcome political strife and find its own way to a new future. He said he hoped that by bringing up the issue, he would help the public gain a better understanding of what they should strive for. Shih said that it was important to build the Taiwanese dream of the 21st century as the public needs a dream with which it can strive for its goals. He said that he and Lee hoped to take the initiative in directing the future of Taiwan. Shih said he hoped to build Taiwan into “an island of freedom” in the 21st century, saying that he and Lee were seriously concerned about the current state of cross-strait relations and related policies. Shih said that if the two sides of the Taiwan Strait were to sign a peace accord, the government must clarify whether it was one between two political parties or one between two countries.
Kuan to represent nation
Examination Yuan President John Kuan (關中) has been named the special envoy to attend the inauguration of Palau president-elect Johnson Toribiong and his running mate Kerai Mariur on Jan. 15, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday. The delegation from Taiwan will include MOFA Deputy Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) and International Cooperation and Development Fund Secretary-General Chen Lien-gene (陳連軍). This year marks the 10th anniversary of official ties between the countries.