Sun, Nov 11, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Bus to lose high-altitude status after highway fix

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff writer, with CNA

One of the highest-altitude bus routes in the nation, Fengyuan Bus Transportation Co’s Bus No. 6506, is soon to be discontinued as the Central Cross-Island Highway (Provincial Highway No. 8) prepares to open to mid-sized buses for the first time since the 921 Earthquake closed parts of the highway in 1999.

The bus route begins its nearly six-hour one-way journey in Taichung’s Fongyuan District (豐原), and passes through Nantou and Hualien counties on the way to Taichung’s mountain community of Lishan (梨山).

Its transit through Wuling (武嶺) on Hehuanshan (合歡山) in Nantou’s Renai Township (仁愛), at an altitude of 3,275m, is the highest point on Taiwan’s highway system, making it one of the highest-altitude routes in the nation.

The bus covers 190km on the outward leg and operates once per day. In addition to passengers, it transports newspapers, produce and other goods, and it operates throughout the winter.

It also serves as a school bus for many students living in the mountains.

The bus route was forced to change to its current route after the earthquake closed off the Guguan (谷關) to Deji (德基) section of the highway.

However, it is soon to return to the route it had before the earthquake, canceling all stops in Nantou and Hualien counties, the company said, adding that the shorter route would take passengers from Fongyuan to Lishan via the Guguan, Deji and Sinjiayang (新佳陽) areas.

After this change, passengers can still reach Wuling by bus on Nantou Bus Co’s Bus No. 6658A from Nantou’s Cingjing Farm (清境農場) to Hehuanshan via Wuling.

Bus No. 6658A operates daily, but reservations are required, Nantou Bus said.

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