Wed, Mar 29, 2017 - Page 3 News List

New TRA announcement policy aimed at migrants

NINE STATIONS:Platform and departure information in Indonesian and Vietnamese will be aired at stations that see large numbers of migrant workers over weekends

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Starting on Saturday, Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) public announcements will also be made in Indonesian and Vietnamese at nine railway stations, mostly along the west coast, agency officials said yesterday.

These stations are in Taipei, New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋), Taoyuan, Taoyuan’s Jhungli District (中壢), Taichung, Changhua, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung, which have been identified as ones that are frequently used by migrant workers from Southeast Asian countries.

The majority of migrant workers are from Indonesia and Vietnam, so announcements in Indonesian and Vietnamese would be broadcast inside the stations on weekends, when migrant workers usually gather to meet friends.

The announcements will be platform information for departing trains and safety instructions, while Indonesian and Vietnamese-speaking volunteers will also be at the visitor centers in these stations on weekends, the TRA said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Li-chan (林麗禪), a Cambodian immigrant of Chinese descent, helped make the announcement service available, the agency said.

Having lived in Taiwan for almost two decades, Lin said she pushed for such services because Taiwan is now home to about 500,000 immigrants, some of whom want to contribute to local society, while the number of migrant workers has reached 630,000, and most depend heavily on the railway system.

“While the government is determined to push the ‘New Southbound Policy’ that encourages closer relations with Southeast Asian countries, the public transportation system is not friendly enough to visitors from these countries,” she said.

Each station master can choose to broadcast public announcements in one or both of the languages during times when the most migrant workers would access their stations, she said, adding that she would be happy to see more railway stations offering such services to migrant workers.

The lawmaker also promised to propose a budget for the TRA for more Indonesian and Vietnamese-speaking translators, adding that she would also mobilize immigrants to support the initiative.

TRA Deputy Director-General Ho Hsien-lin (何獻霖) said the agency has recruited 18 volunteers who can speak either Indonesian or Vietnamese, as well as several part-time workers, who began assisting at visitor information desks on Feb. 25.

Not only do they serve passengers from Southeast Asian countries, they help serve older travelers as well, he said.

Taipei Railway Station Master Huang Jung-hua (黃榮華) said the Taipei station plans to broadcast public announcements in Thai as well, although it has yet to decide when to make the service available.

Public announcements are currently made in Mandarin, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Hakka and English.

As most Filipino migrant workers understand English, there is no need to record public announcements in their language, Huang said.

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