Promotions launched earlier this month on the Taiwan High Speed Rail will last until the end of next year instead of expiring at the end of March, the company announced on Thursday, in response to public demand to ease the pain of ticket price hikes.
The decision was reached at a board meeting after calls for an extension from both the minister of transportation and communications and some lawmakers, a company spokesman said.
The promotions began on Oct. 8, when the company raised fares on the 340km rail network by an average of 9.69 percent.
With the price increase, a round-trip ticket between Taipei and Zuoying, Greater Kaohsiung, rose from NT$2,980 to NT$3,260 — an increase of NT$280, or 9.4 percent.
Lawmakers had called on Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp to postpone the increases in order to lower the impact on the public in a month which has already seen a rise in the cost of electricity.
Yet the minister had argued that the price hikes were necessary to improve the company’s finances.
The company began making a profit in 2011, but is still not considered financially healthy because of its debts.
The promotions include more than doubling the number of seats available for “early bird” discounts to 260,000 per week.
Under the program, travelers booking their tickets early enjoy as much as 35 percent off the regular price.
As part of the promotion, the company also launched a new preferential program under which passengers aged 60 to 64 can get a 25 percent discount on certain trains.
Passengers aged 65 or older continue to pay half price for their rides.