MOTC lists traffic plans for Lunar New Year holiday

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 - Page 3

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) yesterday said it would implement traffic controls during the Lunar New Year holiday and increase passenger rail service to help avoid congestion on the roads.

With the control measures, north-south highway travel between Taipei and Greater Kaohsiung could average six hours during the holiday, compared with seven hours during Lunar New Year last year and four to five hours in non-holiday periods, the ministry said.

The longer-than-usual holiday — from Feb. 9 to Feb. 17 — means that travel is more likely to be spread over different days, it said.

The growing use of real-time traffic information for motorists would also help ease freeway travel, it said.

Traffic control measures such as the suspension of freeway tolls between midnight and 7am would be in place for the entire holiday period, Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said.

On Feb. 9, Feb. 13 and Feb. 14, vehicles carrying fewer than three people, including the driver, will not be allowed on freeways, he said.

The ministry estimates that 3 million motorists will take to the roads on Feb. 12, the expected peak travel day during the holidays.

To ease freeway congestion, the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) and Taiwan High Speed Rail will increase services, Mao said.

“We will make sure that no one is left behind at the train stations,” Mao said.

The TRA will provide 54 additional trips on its eastern and southern routes, but passengers will need to reserve seats starting on Friday, Mao said.

On the high speed rail, a total of 1,917 trips will be offered and seats are still available, he said.