E-payment discount to end
The Taipei Rapid Transit Corp board yesterday approved a proposal to cancel a 20 percent discount for tickets purchased using electronic payment cards. The Taipei City Government approved the plan last month, and needs to give it the final approval after the board’s decision. Instead of the discount policy, the company is to introduce a loyalty reward program, which would offer cash rebates when a rider swipes their card at an MRT gate, it said. Passengers riding the MRT 11 to 20 times per month would receive a 10 percent rebate in the following month, and an increase of 5 percent for every additional 10 rides, the company said, adding that those who ride 51 times or more per month would receive a rebate of 30 percent. The new policy is to take effect on Feb. 1, it said.
Experts arrive in Wuhan
Two Taiwanese health experts have arrived in Wuhan, China, to learn more about a pneumonia outbreak that has left one person dead and infected more than three dozen, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday. The experts arrived in the city late on Sunday and are expected to stay there for two days under the guidance of local health officials, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said. As of Sunday, 41 cases had been confirmed in the city, seven of whom were in a critical condition, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The WHO has designated the novel coronavirus as 2019-nCoV and has urged all countries to improve public awareness and adopt self-protection measures against it.
Couriers mull labor action
Foodpanda couriers are mulling whether to go on strike on Thursday to protest the company’s decision to cut delivery fees. Several social media posts by the couriers expressed displeasure over the company’s announcement on Friday last week that the delivery fee per trip would be reduced from NT$70 to NT$60 from Thursday. The couriers expressed anger that the food delivery platform made the decision without consulting them, with some urging coworkers online not to take orders on Thursday in protest. Foodpanda on Sunday said the rate change aims to offer its couriers a more stable income, as they would be able to deliver more orders per hour. It would continue to engage in dialogue with its couriers to discern their views on the changes, the company said. Taiwan Labour Front secretary-general Son Yu-liam (孫友聯) supported a strike, saying that Foodpanda cannot unilaterally change the contract.
Minister mum on career
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday refused to disclose his next career move following the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) victory in Saturday’s presidential and legislative elections. Lin was credited for helping DPP legislative candidates’ campaigns in Taichung, where he served as mayor from 2014 to 2018. The most notable result was winning two seats in the city previously held by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidates — three-term lawmaker Sheng Chih-hwei (沈智慧) and two-term lawmaker Yen Kuan-heng (顏寬恆) — for the DPP’s candidate, Zhuang Ching-cheng (莊競程), and Taiwan Statebuilding Party challenger Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) respectively. The victories caused local Chinese-language media to speculate that Lin might again run for Taichung mayor in 2022.
A DECADE’S WORK: The two-volume, 1,400-page lexicon has collected more than 20,000 words and phrases, and is expected to help people learning the Liu Dui dialect The Liu Dui Culture Research Association on Saturday unveiled the nation’s first domestically compiled lexicon of Hakka-language words in the Liu Dui dialect, an effort that took a decade of work and cost about NT$7 million (US$233,085 at the current exchange rate). The two-volume, 1,400-page lexicon collected more than 20,000 phrases and words, and is estimated to be of great value in helping people learn the Liu Dui dialect and culture, the association said. It could also become a reference book for teachers, the association added. The lexicon collected phrases and common words used in daily speech, as well as local sayings, phrases
EXPANSION: The transportation ministry is to subsidize Taipei and Kaohsiung’s purchase of 63 multipurpose taxis, as well as the payment of incentives for drivers The Ministry of Transportation and Communications is appropriating nearly NT$60 million (US$2 million) to subsidize plans by the Taipei City Government and the Kaohsiung City Government to expand their multipurpose taxi fleets, it said over the weekend. The ministry said that it has since 2013 subsidized the multipurpose taxi service nationwide, as it has become a way for disabled people to travel. The nation has 980 multipurpose taxis, including 301 in Taipei and 272 in Kaohsiung, ministry statistics showed. Last year, the service was accessed more than 200,000 times in Taipei and 460,000 times in Kaohsiung, which the ministry said shows
The One Bear Museum in Hsinchu County’s Guansi Township (關西), a teddy bear museum once touted by the county government as a “luminous pearl” along Provincial Highway No. 13, is facing possible closure. The museum’s building, which was provided by the county government, has a serious water leakage problem and lacks a parking lot for buses to bring in tour groups, Hsinchu County Councilor Lo Shih-shi (羅仕琦) said on Saturday. The county government should step in to rescue the museum, or the negative reviews about the museum on the Internet might affect visitors’ impression of the township and the county, he said. The
‘NATIONAL SECURITY PROBLEM’: Two DPP legislators said the government needs to help public agencies replace Chinese equipment and pass legislation banning their use More than 200 government entities are together using 1,108 telecommunications devices from Chinese brands, posing a cybersecurity risk, a government report showed. At the suggestion of the Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee last year, the Executive Yuan investigated 7,704 public institutions to see whether they were using or had procured telecoms equipment manufactured by Chinese companies. They found that as of April 13, of the 3,837 public institutions that responded to their requests, 228 said they had been using equipment made by Chinese brands, including mobile phones, video cameras, drones and other Internet-related devices. The report highlighted products from seven brands considered to