Travelers will have an easier time seeing the country this summer after the Tourism Bureau yesterday introduced the Taiwan Tourist Bus Travel Service (台灣好行), providing visitors with tours to tourist spots nationwide using public transport.
The bureau launched a trial of the service on 21 routes in 10 counties in April last year. Following encouraging results, the bureau decided to continue the service this year, with minor adjustments and the cancelation of some of the less popular routes.
Tourism Bureau Director-General Janice Lai (賴瑟珍) said the service had attracted about 760,000 users last year. This year, there will be 20 routes in 12 counties.
“Noteworthy is the fact that 14 of the travel routes offer different packages depending on the tourist attractions visited along the route,” Lai said.
People traveling on the Anping Route (安平線) in Greater Tainan can pay one price that includes bus fares and fees to enter two scenic spots.
Tourists heading to Fulong (福隆) in New Taipei City (新北市) will pay NT$299 for a round-trip bus service between Taipei and Fulong, a three-hour bicycle ride and a Fulong lunchbox.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said a round-trip tour to Sun Moon Lake (日月潭線) in Nantou County, which includes access to the Sun Moon Lake Cable Car, the round-the-lake bus system, a boat tour and discount coupons for bicycle or electric scooter rental would cost NT$599.
“Using public transport to travel around Taiwan is more fun and more exciting than driving on your own,” Mao said.
Aside from the Anping, Fulong and Sun Moon Lake routes, the service also includes the Kenting Express Line (墾丁快線), the Alishan Route (阿里山線) and the Jiaosi Route (礁溪線).
Bureau statistics showed that 20 percent of those who used the service last year were foreign visitors.
Meanwhile, a survey among passengers using the Taiwan Tourist Bus — most of whom were under the age of 35 — showed that the satisfaction rate for the service was 90 percent.
Lai said several businesses in scenic areas had asked if the bureau could add introductions to their stores and products in the brochures or pamphlets available on the bus routes.
The number of passengers using the bus service could surpass 1 million after free independent travelers from China start arriving on Tuesday, she said.
Pamphlets introducing the bus routes are available at the bureau’s tourist centers.
They can also check the information at bus service Web site at www.taiwantrip.com.tw or call 24 hour toll-free number at 0800-011765.