Sat, Jul 24, 2010 - Page 2 News List

THSRC to raise seat availability

STANDING ROOM ONLYThe Bureau of High Speed Rail has had complaints from passengers who have had to stand if they board trains during peak hours

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chang Shu-kai, left, a teacher from Taipei Municipal Zhongshan Elementary School, and kindergarten teacher Huang Ting-ting kiss at Taiwan High Speed Rail’s Tsuoying station yesterday. Taiwan High Speed Rail helped organize a wedding proposal for the two to commemorate their meeting for the first time at Tsuoying station two years ago.

PHOTO: CNA

Because more commuters use the high-speed rail system, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) said yesterday that it is planning to raise the number of non-reserved seats on peak services.

A report from the Bureau of High Speed Rail showed that the introduction of prepaid tickets and periodic ticket cards, two new services targeting regular high-speed rail travelers, has helped increase demand for non-reserved seats.

Passengers holding a prepaid card can travel eight times in a designated section within 30 days of the first use of the ticket. They are allowed to board any train and sit in any available non-reserved seat.

Passengers with a periodic ticket card, on the other hand, have unlimited access to any train for 30 days and can sit in any available non-reserved seat.

Bureau Deputy Director-General Allen Hu (胡湘麟) said the bureau has received complaints from passengers who have had to stand in the carriages if they board trains during peak hours because all the non-reserved seats have been taken. Hu said this was most likely to occur on the sections between Taichung and Hsinchu, Hsinchu and Taoyuan, and Taoyuan and Taipei.

The bureau’s statistics also showed that, as of Wednesday, about 4 percent of the high-speed rail passengers were using either a prepaid ticket card or a periodic ticket card.

To ease demand, THSRC has added three more trains to the Taipei to Taichung service.

THSRC chairman Ou Chin-der (歐晉德) said that the company would monitor passenger volumes during peak hours and ascertain which trains potentially needed more non-reserved seats, adding that it might put two more carriages of non-reserved seats on those trains.

Ou also announced yesterday that the company would soon service its 100 millionth passenger.

“We estimate that our passenger numbers will exceed 100 million in about 11 to 12 days,” Ou said, adding that the 100 millionth passenger would receive a periodic ticket that lasts for a year.

Ou said that both the 99,999,999th and 100,000,001st passengers would get one-month periodic tickets. The company said it would then hand out two vouchers for business-class seats for every 100,000th passenger following the 100 million mark.

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