Thu, Sep 05, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Passengers snap up train tickets for Mid-Autumn fest

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Tickets for trains operating at peak travel times during the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday were sold out after the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) opened the booking session early yesterday morning.

The four-day holiday begins on Sept. 19 and ends on Sept. 22.

The TRA said 102,155 tickets were sold within the first minute after the session began, which meant 1,702 tickets were sold per second.

Travelers snatched up all tickets for southbound or eastbound express trains operating between 12pm on Sept. 18 and 12pm on Sept. 19, as well as those for northbound express trains operating on Sept. 22, the railway agency said.

Passengers purchasing tickets online must complete the transaction within two days or their booking would be canceled, it said.

The TRA also said it started testing on Tuesday the first two sets of the EMU800 trains that arrived last month. The new trains are expected to start ferrying passengers during the Lunar New Year holiday next year.

The agency has purchased 296 EMU800 train carriages from Japan, with delivery expected to be completed by January 2016.

The train is also known as the “smiling train,” as the locomotive is decorated with a yellow line resembling a crescent moon on the front. It can operate at a maximum speed of 130kph, which is faster than the current commuter train service.

Twenty-five percent of the seats on the new trains will be priority seats. Cyclists can take their bicycles with them on board the first and eighth carriages of the new trains.

Meanwhile, the TRA introduced three new cruise train tours to Gueishan Island and Mr Brown Avenue in Taitung County. Booking for the tours, which will start in the fourth quarter, opens at 9am today.

TRA data showed that cruise trains had an average usage rate of 89.21 percent in the first half of the year. The customer satisfaction rate was also high at 93.5 percent.

All three new package deals are two-day tours covering transportation, board, accommodation and guided tours, with two of them leaving from the north and one departing from central Taiwan. Tours are priced from NT$4,350 to NT$4,950 per person.

The Gueishan Island package includes a boat tour around the island for passengers.

Mr Brown Avenue is a country road filled with rice paddies. It was first made famous by a TV commercial featuring Mr Brown coffee and recently garnered widespread attention again due to an airline commercial featuring Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武).

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