Wed, May 14, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Electrified railway trial announced

PULL FACTOR:During the two-week trial, starting on June 30, a 12 percent discount will be available in the first five days from Taipei to Taitung, rail officials said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A Puyuma Express train runs on a curved track in Hualien County on Feb. 10.

Photo: Yu Tai-lang, Taipei Times

Passengers boarding the Puyuma Express from Taipei to Taitung from June 30 to July 4 will receive a 12 percent ticket discount to celebrate the launch of the electrified railway service between Hualien and Taitung.

The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday that it is scheduled to begin a two-week trial for the general public on June 30.

During the trial, there will be four Puyuma Express services to Taitung each day.

The 12 percent discount will only be available in the trial’s first five days. Bookings open on June 16.

The agency estimates that about 7,000 passengers will use the electrified service during the trial.

The administration said it expects full services to start on July 16, including more Puyuma Express train services dispatched daily.

Previously, people heading to Taitung were required to transfer to diesel-powered trains at Hualien Station.

TRA Director-General Chou Yung-hui (周永暉) said that the agency will lower the price of diesel-power services, with a new pricing scheme expected next month.

Lawmakers on the legislature’s Transportation Committee suggested that the line should set different prices across the wide range of services that use it.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) said that the agency’s Tzuchinag Express train service uses seven different train models, some of them much older than others.

He said that the agency should replace older models with new ones, adding that people using the Tzuchiang Express trains that are more than 20 years old should be offered discounts.

DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said that the agency should charge more on tickets for higher-speed services, while services with more stops should be priced more cheaply.

The new electrified railway route begins at Hualien Station and ends at Jiben (知本) Station in Taitung, a distance of about 166.1km.

DPP Legislator Liu Chao-hao (劉櫂豪) said that the government should increase the number of reserved tickets for residents of Taitung County.

The TRA said the electrified line trains can travel at speeds of 110kph to 130kph and estimated that travel time between Taipei and Taitung can be reduced from five hours to three-and-a-half hours.

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