Taipei taxis ranked 18th: poll
Taipei is home to the world’s 18th-best taxi service, according to an annual global survey on taxis recently conducted by online booking site Hotels.com. Taipei’s taxis came in well behind those of major cities like London and New York, and even emerging metropolises like Bogota and Mumbai. Taiwanese respondents ranked Taipei first in the world in terms of value, knowledge of roads, availability and friendliness. However, local residents did not rate Taipei taxis well in safety, quality of driving and cleanliness. From the driver’s seat, a majority of Taipei drivers said that they have a preference for customers from the US and the UK as they tend to leave bigger tips. Globally, London’s taxis were voted the world’s best, followed by New York, Tokyo and Berlin. The survey was based on responses from 2,683 people from 30 countries.
Pollution to affect air
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday that air pollutants from northern China could travel to Taiwan over the next two days as northeast monsoon winds pick up. The Central Weather Bureau forecast that the northeast monsoon would strengthen today and last until Tuesday, shifting smog and other air pollutants southward to affect air quality in Taiwan. People with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, the elderly, and children should refrain from physical activities outdoors and should wear surgical masks to guard against pollution, the EPA said.
Official’s son to serve
Deputy National Defense Minister-designate Andrew Hsia (夏立言) said his son will return to Taiwan as early as the end of this month to begin his military service, a move that should defuse criticism of his new appointment. Hsia Chi-hsuan (夏之璿), 32, is to return to Taipei at the end of the month or early next month and fulfill his military obligation, the career diplomat said on his arrival at Taoyuan International Airport on Friday evening from Jakarta, where he has served as Taiwan’s representative to Indonesia since 2009. Hsia said his work as a diplomat means that his son lived abroad for many years and that is why he has not served in the military. Military service of up to a year is mandatory for male adults in Taiwan. Hsia Chi-hsuan, who is reportedly employed in the US, will be exempt from the obligation if he stays abroad until he is 35, but his father came under political pressure after being named the new deputy defense minister last month.
Free-trade delegation in US
Former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) yesterday led a delegation of business leaders and economic officials to visit the US to lobby for Taiwan’s inclusion in a regional free-trade grouping. The delegation is to hold several forums with major US business leaders, meet with US officials and drum up support for Taiwan’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a free-trade agreement currently being negotiated among 12 Pacific Rim countries. Taiwan’s inclusion is considered crucial for its exports to be competitive. During Siew’s visits to New York, Washington and San Francisco from yesterday to Nov. 27, he is to give two public speeches in New York and Washington on Taiwan-US trade relations and the nation’s determination to join the TPP.