Mon, Jan 31, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Taipei to roll out discount on bus-to-bus transfers

PAY AS YOU GO:Taipei’s transportation department is also considering a new plan that would calculate bus fares according to the distance that users travel

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Bus passengers in Taipei will enjoy a discount when transferring from one bus to another beginning later this year, the city government announced yesterday.

The bus-to-bus transfer discount will first be applied to 10 “citizen minibus” lines and 26 “minibus” lines — both of which operate in remote areas of the city — as part of a trial operation, the city’s Department of Transportation said, adding that the program would gradually expand to all bus lines sometime next year.

Cheng Chia-liang (鄭佳良), director of the Public Transportation Office, said passengers would enjoy a 50 percent discount when transferring from one bus to another within an hour, which equates to NT$7 (US$0.25) fare for the second bus ride.

Currently, passengers receive discounts when transferring between Taipei’s MRT system and its bus system. The bus-to-bus discount will be offered between bus lines to encourage passengers to take advantage of public transportation on routes that service the more remote areas of the city, he said.

Statistics from the office show that about 160,000 passengers transferred between buses every day.

The department will budget NT$18 million this year to implement the program, Cheng added.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Jason Lin (林志盈) said the bus-to-bus discount program would encourage use of public transportation.

The department is also reviewing the bus fare calculation system, and is considering a plan to calculate bus fares by the distance each passenger travels, he said.

Passengers currently pay bus fares by “sections,” with passengers that get off at a bus stop that is within the first section paying NT$15, while those who are traveling further pay NT$30.

Lin said the current fare policy had garnered complaints from passengers, who were confused by the section boundaries.

Paying bus fares by distance traveled would be fairer, he said.

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