TRA seeks to curb fare evasion from staff with scheme

LOSSES::Estimates show that about US$1.59 million in train fares were lost due to abuse of a fare discount scheme designed to encourage off-peak travel

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Jan 07, 2013 - Page 3

The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) yesterday said it would employ “mystery passengers” to curb fare evasion by its employees.

The TRA annually gives each of its employees 20 discount passes allowing them to purchase tickets at a discount of up to 75 percent. The passes can be used by employees and their families.

The Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday said that some employees were using the pass without purchasing tickets and were enjoying unlimited access to the train service.

Some ticket inspectors also turned a blind eye by allowing those who presented the pass to board the train.

It was estimated that about NT$46 million (US$1.59 million) in train fares were lost because of the special discount scheme, adding to the more than NT$200 billion in financial losses that already plague the state-run corporation.

The TRA said the discount was granted to its employees to encourage them and their family members to use the train service during off-peak hours.

With the pass, TRA employees can purchase tickets at a 75 percent discount, while family members only need to pay half the fare.

An internal investigation by the TRA found that 19 of its employees had been involved in the fare evasion scheme.

One was granted probation for one year and asked to return NT$10,000.

The TRA said it would dispatch “mystery passengers” to determine whether the problem persists, adding that those violating the regulations of the pass would be strictly punished.