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 survey of young Taiwanese showed that only 36.5 percent of men and 19.6 percent of women believe marriage is important, a trend that academics say is key to the nation’s low birthrate. Yang Wen-shan (楊文山), an adjunct research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology, yesterday announced the 12th round of results from a longitudinal survey of attitudes among young Taiwanese toward markers of adulthood. While few of the respondents, who were aged 28 to 32 when surveyed in 2017, found marriage to be important, 95.8 percent believed that being responsible for oneself should take precedence, data showed. Economic independence came in
SHRINKING FEMALE POPULATION: Last year, 107.74 boys were born for every 100 girls in Taiwan, which is a greater gender imbalance than in Japan and South Korea The Ministry of the Interior recorded 9,601 births in January, the first time the nation has produced fewer than 10,000 newborns in a single month, while different indicators showed that Taiwan might also be facing a population with increasingly fewer births, women and marriages. It comes after the ministry reported a record low 165,249 births last year, which was lower than the 173,156 deaths recorded last year. The nation experienced negative population growth for the first time last year, ministry data found. The number of births in January also dropped from a year earlier, when there were 12,510 births. In February, there were
The Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office has listed six people as suspects in a judicial investigation into a fatal train crash on Friday last week. Fifty people were killed and more than 200 were injured when the Taroko Express No. 408 train slammed into a crane truck that had slid onto the tracks near the entrance of Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The office also summoned six officials at the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) Hualien Engineering Section for questioning about alleged illegal business operations and unsafe work conditions by Yi Hsiang Industry Co and Tung Hsin Construction Co, the two
KEEPING FOCUSED: Premier Su Tseng-chang was said to have commended Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung, but said the tragedy takes priority Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has submitted a verbal resignation in the wake of the Taroko Express No. 408 train crash two days ago, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said yesterday. In a call, Lin told Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) that he wished to step down, to take responsibility for the deadliest accident involving a Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) train in 40 years. As of press time last night, the Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office had revised the death toll from 51, which had been reported on the previous day, to 50, after DNA testing showed that what had