Sat, Mar 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Freeway rest stop businesses’ revenue dipped over holiday: Freeway Bureau

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Businesses in freeway rest areas reported a small drop in revenue over the Lunar New Year holiday, the Freeway Bureau said on Tuesday, but added that annual revenue has been growing since 2011.

The statistics were compiled by calculating the business revenue in 15 freeway service areas from the day before Lunar New Year’s Eve to the sixth day of the holiday, the bureau said.

Total revenue this holiday topped NT$22.46 million (US$766,845), down 2.26 percent from the same period last year, bureau data showed.

Visitor numbers also dropped 4.62 percent to about 1.54 million, the data showed.

The bureau identified the five highest-grossing freeway service areas this holiday: Taichung’s Cingshuei (清水), Tainan’s Dongshan (東山), Miaoli County’s Sihu (西湖), Hsinchu County’s Guansi (關西) and Yunlin County’s Siluo (西螺).

Cingshuei has been the nation’s most profitable rest area since 2011, the data showed.

Several factors contributed to the dramatic growth in Cingshuei’s business, bureau Deputy Director-General Wu Mu-fu (吳木富) said.

Apart from its favorable location — the midpoint of freeways on the west coast — its design has won the hearts of many motorists, Wu said.

The Taichung City Government lists the Cingshuei Service Area as one of the city’s top tourist attractions, describing it as more than just a place to eat and rest.

The whole area is designed like a cruise ship where travelers can stop over, drink coffee, watch the sunset or view the stars, according to the city’s description.

Freeway traffic volume from Lunar New Year’s Eve to the sixth day of the holiday was about the same as last year, which had a six-day Lunar New Year holiday as well, Wu said.

The decline in revenue was minor and within a reasonable range, he said.

Cingshuei grossed more than NT$7.4 million on the fourth day of the holiday, bureau Toll and Service Division head Liu Feng-liang (劉逢良) said.

However, its total revenue slid 2.45 percent due to a 3.62 percent drop in the number of visitors, Liu said.

Although aggregate revenue for the 15 rest areas fell this holiday, their annual revenue has grown steadily — from NT$293 million in 2011 to NT$415 million last year, the bureau said.

“Since 2011, we have changed the terms of contract with operators of freeway rest areas, requiring them to provide affordable food services. We also encourage them to develop more unique characteristics to attract motorists,” Liu said.

This year also saw the opening of the Suao Service Area (蘇澳服務區) on the Chiang Wei-shui Memorial Freeway (Freeway No. 5) on Feb. 1, which offers the nation’s most advanced public toilets, allowing motorists to refresh themselves before hitting the road again, he said.

Some of the facilities in the Suao Service Area will not be finished until the end of next year to keep pace with the construction of the Suhua Highway Improvement Project, Liu said.

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