The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) is planning to release a new train schedule in May that would cut travel time to several key destinations around the country.
When the new schedule takes effect, the average travel time for commuter trains between Taipei and Keelung is expected to be shortened by three to five minutes. Currently, a train departing from Taipei arrives in Keelung in 49.8 minutes on average.
Longer-distance travelers would benefit from even speedier services. Half of the express trains from Taipei to Taitung are expected to make the trip within an average of five hours. At present, it takes about seven hours to arrive in Taitung on the TRA’s Chukuang Express and five-and-a-half hours via Tzuchiang Express. The TRA is also testing if it could further speed up the express train service to make the trip in four hours and 12 minutes.
Since about 400 trains will be affected by the changes, the TRA said it would first post the adjusted train schedule on the Web site next week and start taking suggestions from the public.
The TRA said it would consider the public’s suggestions and make some minor adjustments before implementing the final plan. TRA director general Frank Fan (范植谷) said that aside from cutting travel time, the TRA would also increase train services to several stations not covered by the high-speed rail service, including Miaoli, Fengyuan (豐原), Doliu (斗六) and Hsinying (新營).
Because the train service between Hualien and Taitung has yet to be electrified, the TRA is planning to increase the number of diesel-powered trains operating between Hualien and Taitung and on the South Link (南迴鐵路).
In related news, the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) said yesterday that passengers who purchase tickets worth more than NT$500 using their consumer vouchers can get half-price coupons.
The THSRC will only issue 100,000 half-price coupons. Those coupons can be used to purchase an economy-class ticket from Taipei to Kaohsiung for only NT$745.