Blind passenger commends service after train journey

By Cheng Wei-chi and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sun, Oct 09, 2016 - Page 3

A blind woman last week on Facebook praised the service she received from the Taiwan Railways Administration, which she said not only made her travels significantly easier, but also rekindled her love for the agency.

According to the woman’s post, service was excellent from the moment she started her journey at Kaohsiung’s Xinzuoying Station, where staff immediately approached her and asked whether she required assistance to reach her train.

After the woman told them she did not require assistance, station staff said they would not notify the train’s crew.

However, the train’s conductor approached her and asked about her destination, she said.

After learning her destination and plans to transfer at Zhongzhou Station in Tainan’s Rende District (仁德), the conductor verified the train schedules and contacted staff at that station, she said.

As the train neared Zhongzhou, the conductor reminded her that it was her stop, she said, adding that after alighting from the train, a member of the station’s staff was waiting on the platform to guide her to another platform.

The post said the woman was again surprised when the conductor of the train to Chang Jung Christian University Station stopped in the car she was riding in to announce its arrival at the station, as Zhongzhou Station staff had apparently notified the conductor, she said.

The woman thanked all staff for helping make her journey a smooth one, saying that the assistance, despite having been told staff would not be notified, was heart-warming and helped to rekindle her passion for the administration.

Xinzuoying Station Master Liu Chun-che (劉俊哲) said that staff had not notified the conductor of the train to Zhongzhou about the passenger, who approached the woman on their own initiative after seeing her guide dog at her side.

The conductor had called ahead to Zhongzhou Station, as there was only a three-minute window to transfer between the trains, Liu added.

The administration said its staff had performed their duties and were to be commended for handling the situation well, adding that it would turn the story into a case study for reference by all staff.

An amendment to the Railroad Act (鐵路法) passed by the Legislative Yuan on May 25 guarantees visually impaired people the right to enter train stations with guide dogs.

Prior to the change, Article 71 of the act stipulated that taking animals into stations or onto trains without permission was punishable with a fine of NT$1,500 to NT$7,500, which was amended to create an exception for trained guide dogs.