Fri, Jun 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers push public transport transfer options

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Lawmakers on the Legislative Yuan’s Transportation Committee yesterday proposed that MRT passengers be given discounts if they transfer to the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) system or long-distance bus services.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) said that while the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has been encouraging people to use public transport, it did not conduct a survey last year on how people use different modes of transportation, as it has done in the past.

The ministry needs data to launch any policy, but it does not even know the percentage of people using public transport, Lee said, adding that it is mind-boggling.

The ministry’s 2016 survey found that Taipei had the highest public transport usage rate at 42.8 percent, Lee said.

The survey also showed that most of the counties in southern Taiwan reported single-digit usage rates, less than the national average of 18.1 percent, he said.

It also identified the main reasons why people do not use public transport often, Lee said.

About 34 percent of respondents said that the bus stop was too far from where they lived, which was the No. 1 reason.

The second reason was the lack of a frequent bus service, which accounted for 12.3 percent of respondents, Lee said.

Launching new bus services in remote areas might be too costly for bus operators, he said.

However, a demand-responsive transportation system would help combine taxis and community buses to offer ride-sharing services with a more flexible schedule and on more feasible routes, he added.

Passengers transferring from MRT metropolitan rail systems to the TRA system or long-distance bus services should be given discounts, Lee said, adding that this, in conjunction with a better transfer system, would improve the public transport usage rate.

Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) told the committee that the method used to conduct the 2016 survey was flawed and the ministry has yet to finalize this year’s survey method.

Currently, only passengers traveling on weekends or major holidays and transferring from freeway bus services to local bus services receive discounts, Wang said.

The ministry supports the integration of different transport systems, but this would require communication with local governments, Wang said.

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