Wed, Mar 18, 2009 - Page 2 News List

TRA upgrading trains to allow non-folding bicycles

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) is planning to remove a number of seats in some express trains and build bicycle racks so passengers can bring bicycles on board.

Currently, the TRA only allows passengers to bring folding bicycles onto trains.

TRA Deputy Director-General Chang Ying-huei (張應輝) yesterday said an increasing number of passengers were carrying bicycles. However, Chang said that there wasn’t sufficient room in train cabins for passengers to carry bicycles aboard.

It is also a hassle for passengers who get on and off the trains while carrying their bicycles, which can inconvenience other passengers.

Chang said the administration would spend about NT$71.6 million (US$2.1 million) renovating a total of 163 express trains, mainly Tzuchiang-class (自強號) and Chukuang-class (莒光號) express trains.

In its proposal, the TRA said that on Tzuchiang Express trains, bike racks would be installed on train cabin No. 13 to allow parking of non-folding bikes.

In the same cabin, there would be room for folding bikes as well. The cabin is expected to accommodate between 20 to 30 non-folding bicycles.

For Chukuang Express trains, passenger seats close to the car door in designated cabins would be removed to make room for folding bicycles only. The bicycles would need to be fastened onto the racks.

Chang said the TRA was considering the possibility of hanging bicycles in the cabin of Tzuchiang Express trains with both ends securely fastened.

The renovation is scheduled to be completed next year.

Forty-four Chukuang Express trains and two Tzuchiang Express trains will be ready by the end of this year.

The TRA said some could be ready by this summer.

Passengers boarding with non-folding bicycles will need to buy another ticket for their bicycles.

If demand increased, passengers could be allowed to bring their bicycles on board free of charge. In addition, trains dedicated to bikers could also be available on weekends if the TRA can get enough passengers.

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