Wed, Dec 14, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Taipei EasyCard users get ‘citizen minibus’ discount

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

The Taipei City Government will offer fare discounts to EasyCard holders who transfer between buses and community buses starting on Wednesday next week, a first step in efforts to transfer discounts to all municipal buses.

The discount will apply to 11 community bus lines, also known as “citizen minibuses,” that serve more remote communities.

Passengers will enjoy a 50 percent discount when transferring from a municipal bus to any of the 11 citizen minibus lines within an hour or between citizen minibuses, which equates to a NT$7 fare for the second bus ride.

In announcing the program, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said he expected the transfer discount program to increase the use of public transport, adding that the city government would eventually expand the transfer discount program to all buses.

“The citizen minibuses offer a last-mile service to our residents who live in more remote areas and the transfer discount program will further encourage the public to take advantage of the public transport system,” he said at Taipei City Hall yesterday.

Currently, passengers receive discounts when transferring between Taipei’s MRT system and its bus system.

Jason Lin (林志盈), commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Transportation, said the transfer discounts on citizen minibus lines would apply for one year and the department is scheduled to include more minibus lines in the discount program.

However, the department does not have a timetable for the overall bus-to-bus discount program, he said, citing the complexity of the calculation of bus fares between different bus lines.

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

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 travel further pay NT$30.

Lin said the current fare policy had garnered complaints from passengers, who are confused by the section boundaries. Paying bus fares by distance traveled would be more fair and would also make it easier to implement the transfer discount program, Lin said.

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