The Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday reported a 39 percent increase in total traffic flow across the nation during the Lunar New Year holidays — to at 18.5 million vehicles — compared with normal annual traffic figures of 13 million.
Traffic flow on the third day of the holidays, from 9pm on Friday night to 7am yesterday, saw a total of 740,000 cars using highways, more than double the average annual rate of 340,000.
The total traffic flow for Friday stood at 2.6 million, 57 percent more than the annual average of 1.7 million.
During the peak travel hours on Friday, driving from Taipei to Greater Kaohiung on National Highway No. 1 (the Sun Yat-sen Freeway) took 4.4 hours. Driving northbound during that time took 3.9 hours.
Through noon yesterday, bottlenecks were reported at the Hukou (湖口) to Jhubei (竹北) exits and Yutien Village (玉田) to Yanpu Village (鹽埔) exits in Pingtung County in the southbound lanes of National Highway No. 1.
Traffic was also slow on the Dingjin system in Greater Kaohsiung’s Renwu District (仁武) and surrounding areas, and Nangang District (南港) to Pinglin District (坪林) exits on southbound National Highway No. 5 (Chiang Wei-shui Memorial Freeway), the ministry said.
The Lungjing Township (龍井) exit in Greater Taichung and Homei Township (和美) in Changhua County along the southbound lanes of National Highway No. 3 (Formosa Freeway), and the northbound lanes between the Muzha District (木柵) and Nangang District (南港) were also congested, it said.
The average speed for those exits was between 30kph and 50kph, the ministry said.
It estimated yesterday afternoon’s bottlenecks to be the exits for Nantun District (南屯) to Daya District (大雅) in Greater Taichung and the Hsinchu City to Jhubei Township exits on northbound National High No. 1, the northbound exits for Longtan Township (龍潭) to Dasi (大溪), the Hsinchu City to Jhulin Tonwhsip (竹林) and Yunlin County to Siluo Township (西螺) sections on National Highway No. 3, and the Toucheng Township (頭城) to Pinglin on southbound National Highway No. 5.
Meanwhile, the Taiwan Railways Administration said the derailment of a train between Nantoun County’s Jiji Township (集集) and Shueili Township (水里) had been fixed by noon.
There were no injuries or deaths in the derailment and the 20 passengers aboard the train at the time of the accident were able to board another train, the agency said.
The accident affected the schedules of nine trains, carrying a total of 570 passengers, from the time of derailment to the line being reopened, the railway adeministration said, adding that it had enlisted the help of Yuanlin Bus Co to transport 550 other passengers to their destinations.