Fri, Jan 11, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Lunar New Year traffic plans announced

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Traffic is backed up on the Rende-Tainan section of National Freeway No. 1 on Aug. 4 last year following an accident.

Photo: Wu Chun-feng, Taipei Times

The Freeway Bureau yesterday announced a series of measures to facilitate freeway traffic during the Lunar New Year holiday, with the highest traffic volume expected on Feb. 7, the fourth day of the holiday.

Southbound freeway traffic would be heavy from Lunar New Year’s Eve to noon on Feb. 7, bureau Deputy Director-General Wu Mu-fu (吳木富) said.

Starting in the afternoon on the fourth day of the holiday, northbound traffic would become heavier, he said.

The holiday lasts from Feb. 2 to Feb. 10, including the two weekends before and after the five-day holiday.

Southbound traffic would be heavy from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7, the bureau said, adding that the heaviest southbound traffic is expected on Feb. 6, with the traffic volume potentially reaching 71 million vehicle kilometers (MVK).

Feb. 6, the third day of the holiday, is traditionally when married couples visit the wife’s parents.

Northbound traffic is to be heavy from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9, with the heaviest traffic expected on Feb. 8, possibly reaching 76MVK, the bureau said.

The total traffic volume on Feb. 7 could top 140MVK, which would beat the record of 138MVK set on the third day of the 2017 Lunar New Year holiday, the bureau said.

A series of measures to facilitate freeway traffic is to be enforced, Wu said.

In addition to regular toll-free hours between 12am and 5am, a high-occupancy vehicle policy — which requires that each car carry at least three passengers on freeways — would be implemented from 1pm to 6pm on Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 on the northbound lanes of the National Sun Yat-Sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1) and Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3), Wu said.

On the Chiang Wei-Shui Freeway (Freeway No. 5), high-occupancy vehicle hours would be implemented on the southbound lanes between 7am and 12pm from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7, he said.

From Feb. 7 to Feb. 10, the high-occupancy hours on Freeway No. 5 would be enforced on the northbound lane from 2pm to 9pm, he added.

In related news, the Tourism Bureau is planning to expand the domestic travel subsidy program to include subsidies during low-travel seasons and weekdays, following a proposal President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) put forward at the end of last year, Tourism Bureau Director-General Chou Yung-hui (周永暉) said.

According to the bureau’s preliminary plan, the subsidies would be awarded to tourists traveling domestically between April and June, as well as between October and November, which are the nation’s off-peak travel seasons, Chou said, adding that the subsidies would be only part of the program.

“We hope to first talk to local government officials in a seminar on Jan. 23 to get some ideas. We will also spend two to three months talking to tourism operators nationwide about how to motivate people to travel during the off-peak seasons,” Chou said.

The agency would also evaluate the performance of the winter travel subsidy program, which ends at the end of this month, he added.

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