Fri, Sep 07, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Bureau introduces high-occupancy freeway policy

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Starting on Sept. 16, motorists driving on the northbound lanes of the Chiang Wei-Shui Memorial Freeway (Freeway No. 5) from Yilan County to Taipei City must observe the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) control policy every Sunday between 2pm and 8pm, the National Freeway Bureau said yesterday.

The policy requires drivers to carry at least two other passengers in their vehicle before taking to the national freeways. The bureau’s announcement yesterday applies only to those driving on northbound lanes of Freeway No. 5 on Sunday.

Leu Wen-yuh (呂文玉), director of the bureau’s traffic management department, said the traffic on the northbound lanes of Freeway No. 5, which connects Taipei and Yilan, is generally heavy when weekends or the holidays are about to end. Demand apparently exceeds the supply, said Leu.

Leu said the bureau found through a survey of the Institute of Transportation that 60 to 70 percent of the motor vehicles on Freeway No. 5 have more than three passengers.

“We felt the time was ripe for us to enforce the HOV policy,” Leu said

Prior to the announcement yesterday, the bureau had tried implementing the HOV policy on Freeway No. 5 on July 8 and July 15 to test the viability of the policy.

Results showed the average wait on the interchange has been reduced from 30 minutes to 20 minutes. The average travel time from the local roads to the Nangang system interchange also dropped from 120 minutes to 75 minutes.

Unlike the HOV policy executed in July, Leu said it would start regulating the entry of small cargo vehicles when the policy is enforced again on Sept. 16.

“We have heard complaints from the police that they cannot tell from the exteriors of certain small-size vehicles if they are cargo trucks, which would in turn affect the inspection results at the check point,” Leu said.

“We decided that all small-size vehicles with fewer than three people will be banned from going on the northbound lanes of the freeway during the stated period of time,” Leu said.

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