Wed, Dec 12, 2018 - Page 2 News List

New Year travel plans unveiled

TRANSPORTATION:Travelers transferring from long-distance buses or trains to local buses during the holiday can transit for free if they transfer within 10 hours

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday unveiled plans to facilitate transportation for travelers during the New Year holiday from Dec. 29.

Freeway toll-free hours during the four-day holiday are to be from midnight to 5am between Dec. 29 and Dec. 31, as well as from midnight to 10am on Jan. 1, the Freeway Bureau said, adding that it is the first time that toll-free hours on the first day of the New Year are to be extended to 10am.

“We’ve considered that a lot of people will engage in entertainment events on New Year’s Eve so we are giving motorists more toll-free hours on the final day of the holiday as an incentive to motivate them to travel early and avoid getting stuck in the northbound traffic in the afternoon,” Freeway Bureau Director-General Chao Hsin-hua (趙興華) said.

The change in toll-free hours is also meant to divert some northbound traffic that normally would occur on the second to last day of the holiday, Chao said.

Apart from the change in toll-free hours, the bureau’s plan to facilitate freeway traffic is the same as that used in the past for long weekends or major national holidays.

All freeway drivers would not travel 20km toll-free during the holiday as they normally do on weekdays or regular weekends. Instead, they are to be charged a toll of NT$0.9 per kilometer.

Other measures include enforcing high-occupancy vehicle hours, closing certain entry ramps to freeways, activating ramp meters at some interchanges and allowing motorists to drive on the hard shoulder on several sections of freeway.

Drivers seeking to avoid congestion during the holiday should also consider using highways, Directorate-General of Highways Director-General Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯) said.

Drivers could use Highway No. 9 instead of the Chiang Wei-shui Freeway (Freeway No. 5), whereas motorists trying to avoid the congestion on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1) and the Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3) could use the West Coast Expressway (Highway No. 61), Chen said.

To help drivers find alternative routes, the agency is using road signs featuring a male deer, he said.

The agency is also working with 15 freeway bus operators to offer discounts to bus passengers on 88 medium-to-long-distance routes.

Travelers transferring from a long-distance bus to a local bus, as well as from Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) or Taiwan High Speed Rail stations to local buses, can transit for free if they transfer within 10 hours, it said.

The TRA is running 286 additional services between Dec. 29 and Jan. 1, 105 of which are services to the east coast.

Passengers can start booking TRA tickets on Friday, it said.

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