Wed, Jul 24, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Railway services urge power discount

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s two railway services yesterday urged Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) to reconsider its plan to cancel the special discounts granted to public transport operators because the new policy would greatly increase their costs and put an additional burden on their operations.

Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said that the cancellation of the special discounts given to the train systems, which was officially announced at the end of last month, would cause its electricity costs to increase from NT$1.2 billion (US$40.1 million) to NT$1.5 billion per year.

The nation’s largest train service operator also said that its accumulated financial losses have reached NT$100 billion, while ticket prices have not increased for 18 years.

The increase in electricity costs would put the administration more deeply in debt, it said, adding that it has spent a substantial amount on purchasing new trains to meet the growth in passenger numbers in recent years.

The TRA added that it had sent an official notice to the state-run power firm asking it to reinstate the special discounts for the train service in view of the public transport system’s importance.

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC), on the other hand, said that its operational costs would increase by NT$140 million per year if it no longer enjoys the special electricity discount.

The company indicated earlier this week that it would propose an increase in ticket prices, to be approved by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. One of the main reasons for the proposed increase was the rise in its electricity costs.

The high-speed rail firm said that Taipower should retain its discounts for the sake of making it attractive for the public to use public transport.

In other developments, the TRA said that slight adjustments would be made to the train schedule as from Sept. 25.

The administration said that the schedule had to be changed due to the addition of the newly purchased Puyuma Express (普悠瑪號) to the east coast-bound service, with train services between Taipei and Hualien increasing from 74 per week to 104 per week.

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