“Fairly priced” meals will become available at some of the rest areas along the national freeways before the end of this year, the National Freeway Bureau said yesterday.
Peng Huan-ju (彭煥儒), chief of the bureau’s business division, said that the bureau had aimed to attract fair-price meal service providers to freeway rest areas by lowering the royalty that contractors have to pay to the bureau each year.
He said contractors operating in the rest areas in Sinying (新營), Greater Tainan, Siluo (西螺) in Yunlin County, Dongshan (東山) in Greater Tainan and Gukeng (古坑) in Yunlin had renewed their contracts with the bureau, and each has renovated the shopping malls at the rest areas and is preparing for reopening at different times before the end of this year.
The rest area in Sinying, Peng said, is scheduled to be reopened on Friday and will be operated by the FamilyMart convenience store chain.
The contractor will provide boxed meals priced from NT$60 to NT$80, which are about the same as prices in the city, he said.
According to Peng, the rest area in Siluo is scheduled to reopen in September. Siluo’s contractor, Nan Ren Hu Entertainment Co, has planned to bring in vendors selling Taiwanese snacks at fair prices, such as meatball soup, rice cakes, fried noodles and rice with pork chops.
The bureau said it had decided to make the availability of fairly priced meals one of the most important criteria in choosing contractors for the freeway rest areas.
This happened after it was found that food sold in the rest areas were more expensive than in downtown areas, even though the food sold in the rest areas were not necessarily of better quality.
The bureau said both the Sin-ying and Siluo rest areas would also be equipped with new facilities and sport new designs.
FamilyMart has worked with the Industrial Technology Research Institute to make the shopping mall at the Sinying rest area an energy-efficient building, shaving about NT$35,000 off the annual electricity bill and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 6.2 tonnes per year.
The shopping mall has also been designed to remind people of the tourist attractions of Greater Tainan, like the Anping Tree House and Sinying Sugar Plant.
FamilyMart aims to turn the rest area into a popular field trip destination for students by providing guided tours of the facility.
The contractor for the rest area in Siluo, on the other hand, has decorated its shopping mall using images of Siluo Bridge (西螺大橋) as well glove puppetry, the bureau said.