Tue, Mar 10, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Taichung to unveil congestion plans for lantern festival

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff writer, with CNA

A multi-faceted plan is to be announced on Thursday aimed at easing the congestion expected at this weekend’s Taiwan Lantern Festival in Taichung’s Wuri (烏日) District, Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said.

The festival, scheduled to end on Sunday, saw more than 6 million visitors on Sunday last week, and the number is expected to reach 8 million on Thursday — which would be a record high for a lantern festival held in Taiwan, Lin said.

Traffic in the suburban areas surrounding the lantern festival venues is expected to reach its height on Saturday, Lin said, adding that an estimated 1.5 million visitors on Saturday last week swamped Wuri (烏日) Railway Station, which serves Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) and the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC).

To alleviate congestion, the Taichung City Government asked the TRA and THSRC to increase the frequency of train services to Wuri, Lin said, which would enable a further 1.8 million visitors to travel to the festival, Taichung City Transportation Bureau Director Wang Yi-chuan (王義川) said.

To better control crowds at the station, the city government decided to only allow travelers to leave by Wuri Station’s Exit 3, Lin said, adding that people who want to re-enter the station could do so through Exit 4, he added.

The city government is to place 40 tour buses on standby on Saturday — twice the number currently available — to help take travelers to Taichung Railway Station if Wuri Station gets overcrowded, Wang said.

Public buses running between exhibition venues and the city center are also to be doubled — to 3,000 runs daily — on Saturday, he said.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 extra parking spaces are to be added to outlying parking lots connected to exhibition venues via shuttle bus, he said. Shuttle services between parking lots and venues are expected to reach 5,000 runs on Saturday — approximately 1,000 more than those operating on Sunday last week — he said.

The whole plan would be made public on Thursday, Lin said.

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