Taipei launches first electric-powered bus route, offers free rides through tomorrow

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Oct 30, 2018 - Page 3

The Taipei City Government launched the city’s first electric-powered bus route and invited the public is invited to ride the route — No. 66, which runs between Taipei Zoo and Songshan Railway Station — for free through tomorrow.

Shin-Shin Bus Co (欣欣客運) operates the 12 buses, which depart from the Taipei Zoo, pass National Chengchi University, continue on the Xinyi Expressway, and pass Taipei 101, four MRT stations and 11 schools before arriving at Songshan Railway Station.

At the launching ceremony yesterday morning, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said that Taipei is the last of the six special municipalities to launch an electric bus route.

The reason for the delay is that the city government has spent a lot of time studying the feasibility of using electric buses, waiting until it was sure to succeed before launching the service.

Usage rates for electric buses in other cities have been low, with some buses being suspended after running for a short time, Ko said, adding that the route could be considered successful if it operated for at least six months.

The city government aims to increase the use of public transportation from 40 percent to 70 percent, he added.

The city is hoping to see the electric bus route succeed, because if it does, the next goal would be to introduce 400 electric buses in four years, he said.

The bus company’s Muzha Bus Station, where the electric buses are parked, is the nation’s first smart renewable-energy bus station, with solar panels installed on the roof that provide electricity and connect to a smart energy storage system to keep surplus energy.

The Taipei Public Transportation Office said it plans to reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution by fully electrifying the city’s public bus service.

If the first route succeeds, the next goal would be to electrify the 16 Taipei Metro Bus routes, which have higher usage rates, it added, adding that bus operating companies would be offered NT$5 in subsidies per kilometer run by an electric bus as an incentive to encourage companies to provide improved public bus services.