Sat, May 28, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Train systems brace for a long Dragon Boat holiday

CRUNCH TIME:The Taiwan Railway Administration is laying on extra trains, while the Bureau of High Speed Rail is encouraging people to buy tickets in advance

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Children at a kindergarten in Dongshan Township, Yilan County, yesterday compete in a mock dragon boat race at their school.

Photo: Yang Yi-min, Taipei Times

Those planning to spend the Dragon Boat Festival holiday on the east coast may want to take advantage of the semi-express train service provided by the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA).

The holiday begins next Saturday and ends on June 6.

The TRA said yesterday it would offer 195 additional train services between next Thursday and June 7, as well as 12 semi-express train services between New Taipei City’s (新北市) Shulin (樹林) and Hualien, with one-way tickets costing NT$200. Those traveling between Taipei and Yilan on the semi-express trains will only need to pay NT$100.

The TRA said the special semi-express train services would utilize commuter trains. The estimated travel time between Taipei and Hualien was about two hours and 47 minutes, which is about the same as the Tzuchiang-class express train, it said.

A Taipei-Hualien ticket on a commuter train usually costs NT$283.

Meanwhile, those planning to take the high-speed rail during the three-day holiday are encouraged to book tickets in advance.

The Bureau of High Speed Rail said that more than 75 percent of the seats for peak travel hours, including southbound trains leaving after 7pm next Friday and northbound train leaving after 4pm on June 6, have been sold.

There are still seats available for other times.

Yang Cheng-chun (楊正君), deputy chief of the bureau’s first section, said most people are not used to booking tickets in advance and prefer to purchase tickets for non-reserved seats at the station, which causes tremendous challenges for the high-speed rail system.

“We just want to warn people that if they are planning to buy tickets for non-reserved seats at the station during the holidays they must be prepared to wait in very long lines,” Yang said.

He said Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp was planning a trial run of allowing passengers with co-branded EasyCards to board the trains at the end of this year.

In related news, freeway motorists will be able to drive toll-free between 12am and 7am from next Saturday to June 6 as part of the National Freeway Bureau’s plan to ease freeway congestion. However, the High Occupancy Vehicle policy will not be used.

Shoulders in certain sections would also be open to traffic at specific hours during the day. Meters on the interchanges will also be activated to regulate the traffic.

Motorists can visit the freeway bureau’s home page at www.freeway.gov.tw for details.

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