The cherry blossom season at Wuling Farm (武陵農場) in Greater Taichung is scheduled to begin on Feb. 12, at which time the farm’s daily entry quota is to be raised from 5,000 to 6,000 people.
The government decided to restrict entry to the farm during the cherry blossom season last year, as the increased number of visitors had led to traffic congestion on Provincial Highway No. 7 and lowered the quality of visits to the farm in previous years. The government also encouraged travelers coming for a one-day tour to use public transportation.
The Directorate General of Highways (DGH) said that a similar restriction would be applied to regulate traffic and entry to the site for this year’s season, which is to run from Feb. 12 to Feb. 24.
DGH deputy director-general Chao Hsin-hua (趙興華) said the farm will admit 6,000 visitors per day, including 4,200 one-day tour visitors and 1,800 visitors who plan to spend the night there.
The farm decided on a daily quota of 1,000 people in one-day group visits this year.
Groups are required to register in advance. The remaining 3,200 places are reserved for independent travelers.
“We want to let people know that they need to get an entry permit if they want to drive to the farm. Visitors are encouraged to take public transport instead,” Chao said.
Chao said that independent travelers can book bus tour packages at 7-Eleven, Family Mart or Hi-Life conveniences stores. Tourists can board busses in Yilan County, Taipei or Lishan (梨山), with the bus ticket serving as the entry permit to the farm, he added.
Wuling Farm director Liu Wei-chi (劉偉琪) said the cherry blossom season might be shorter this year because of the cold and rainy weather.
“We can see the flower buds on the branches now and estimate that the season could start on Feb. 12,” he said.
In other news, the National Freeway Bureau announced that it will implement a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) policy during the Lunar New Year holiday, which requires that at least three people be in each small passenger vehicle on national freeways.
The bureau’s chief engineer Hsu Cheng-chang (許鉦漳) said the HOV restrictions would begin on Jan. 30 from 7am to 12pm on the southbound lanes of National Sun Yat-Sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1) and Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3), adding that the policy will be enforced between Neihu (內湖) and Toufen (頭份) on Freeway No. 1 and between Mucha (木柵) and Sianshan (香山) on Freeway No. 3.
For northbound traffic, Hsu said the HOV hours would be enforced on Feb. 2, Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, the third, fourth and fifth days of the holiday. According to Hsu, drivers on freeways No. 1 and No. 3 are to observe the HOV policy from 9am to 3pm on Feb. 2 and Feb. 3 in the sections between Greater Kaohsiung and Neili (內壢) on Freeway No. 1 and between Jiouru (九如) and Dashi (大溪) on Freeway No. 3.
People driving on the northbound lanes of the Chiang Wei-Shui Freeway (Freeway No. 5) are required to follow the HOV policy from 3pm to 8pm between Suao (蘇澳) and Toucheng (頭城) on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4.