Taiwan began implementing a number of new government policies yesterday, including a ban on smoking under covered walkways outside several convenience stores and coffee shop chains in Taipei and New Taipei City.
Stores covered by the ban are 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Hi-Life, OK Mart, Simple Mart, Starbucks, 85°C, Louisa Coffee, Mr Brown Cafe, Dante Coffee, Ikari Coffee, Barista Coffee, Cama Cafe, Crown&Fancy and Peter Better Cafe.
Anyone caught smoking under covered walkways in front of the 15 outlets faces a fine of NT$2,000 to NT$10,000.
Also from yesterday, senior citizen courtesy cards can be used at Taipei’s 12 district sports centers.
The cards are for people aged 65 or older, and are topped up with NT$480 every month for public transport and entrance fees to municipal exhibitions and public facilities.
Cardholders can use their card to pay up to NT$50 per visit to use sports centers’ facilities, such as swimming pools or gyms.
Also in Taipei, parents can now receive a monthly subsidy of NT$2,500 to NT$4,000 in addition to the national monthly subsidy of NT$2,500 for each child aged 2 or 3 attending public or semi-public preschools or cared for by a “contract babysitter,” while an additional NT$2,000 to NT$3,000 is to be given to parents who send their children to ordinary babysitters.
Meanwhile, point-to-point speed measurement came into effect in Taipei’s Ziqiang Tunnel (自強隧道) yesterday, with people driving at more than 60kph facing fines of NT$1,600 to NT$24,000, depending on their speed.
As of 9am yesterday, 103 speeding tickets had been issued in the tunnel, the Taipei City Police Department said.
Also yesterday, trains on the Danhai Light Rail Transit system in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水) began running more frequently during peak travel hours, with trains departing from Hongshulin Station every 12 minutes instead of every 15 minutes from 3pm to 8pm.
Meanwhile, New Taipei City began charging for the use of public parking spaces for electric cars and scooters.
Those signing up for motorcycle license tests now also have to take a hazard perception test.
The Tourism Bureau’s fall and winter domestic travel subsidy program also began yesterday and is to run through December.
Under the program, tour groups as well as independent travelers visiting any of the towns recommended by the bureau can receive a subsidy. Independent travelers can receive NT$1,000 per hotel room, provided they visit from Sunday through Friday.
Starting from this month, the government is offering monthly rent subsidies ranging from NT$2,600 to NT$5,000 to single people aged 20 to 40, couples who have been married for less than two years and families with dependent children.
Only those who earn less than 2.5 times the government-specified lowest cost of living are eligible to apply for the subsidies.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
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The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung