New bullet train stations to open early December

RESTRUCTURING::The opening of the new stations is to coincide with the THSRC’s financial restructuring plan, which was approved by shareholders last week

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Mon, Sep 14, 2015 - Page 3

Three new high-speed rail stations are scheduled to become operational on Dec. 1, Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Jian-yu (陳建宇) said at the weekend.

He said that Changhua and two other HSR stations in Miaoli and Yunlin counties “have absolutely no problem” in commencing operations on Dec. 1, when ticket prices for the bullet train system are to return to levels seen before a price hike in 2013.

Ticket price adjustments is one of the reasons that Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) secured legislative support for its financial restructuring plan, which was approved by shareholders last week.

The financial restructuring plan would extend the concession period by 35 years, reduce capital by 60 percent and raise NT$30 billion (US$917.15 million) in funds from government-affiliated shareholders. Shares held by the government would be increased from 20 percent to 40 percent, making the government the largest shareholder of the company.

THSRC chairman Victor Liu (劉維琪) said the company would not experience a shortage in funds once the financial restructuring plan is implemented. He said that the company would be able to invest more money in improving the safety and quality of the rail service, adding that it could export its knowledge of running the bullet train system to other countries.

According to the Bureau of High Speed Rail, Taiwan’s bullet train system was the first case in which Japan’s Shinkansen system exported its technology overseas. The smooth operation of the bullet train system also serves as the best example of how the Shinkansen system is able to be implemented in another country, the bureau said.

The bureau added that THSRC continues to research new ways to provide a quality train service.

As an example, the bureau said that a high-speed train conductor can check the seat availability on board using an application developed by the company.

The bureau said that Taiwan and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding on how to jointly promote the service in overseas markets, in which Japan exported the infrastructure and technology, and Taiwan shared its experience in operating the system.

Several countries have come to observe how the bullet train system is operated in Taiwan, including Brazil, Norway, India and Southeast Asian countries, the bureau said.