The number of travelers between the Port of Taipei and Pingtan in China’s Fujian Province is expected to increase by about 19 percent to reach 110,000 this year, Taiwan International Ports Corp’s Keelung branch said yesterday.
Increases in demand and supply of passenger transport services, as well as ticket discounts, have contributed to a gradual rise in passengers on the cross-strait sea route, Port of Keelung chief secretary Chang Yi-yuan (張溢源) said.
The number of travelers between the Port of Taipei and Pingtan grew from 71,410 in 2016 and 77,390 in 2017 to 92,000 last year, Chang said, adding that travelers on the route are expected to top 110,000 this year.
In view of the increase in passengers, two shipping firms operating the Port of Taipei-Pingtan route — Fujian Cross Strait Ferry Corp and Uni-Wagon Maritime Co — last month began increasing the number of services from four round-trip voyages per week to six round-trip services per week, which has expanded capacity by 12,000 passengers per month, he said.
As of Monday, 45,000 passengers had used the cross-strait ferry service this year, a 26 percent increase from the same period last year, he added.
The shipping firms have been offering discounts to passengers, with a round-trip ticket between the Port of Taipei and Pingtan costing NT$3,000 per person for group travelers or NT$3,500 for individual passengers — only slightly more than a round-trip high-speed rail ticket between Taipei and Zuoying (左營) in Kaohsiung, Chang said.
Most Chinese travelers using the service were tourists, while Taiwanese passengers were mostly business travelers, he said.
The travel time from the Port of Taipei to Pingtan is about three-and-a-half hours, Chang said, adding that Taiwanese are required to present their passport and Mainland Travel Permit to purchase tickets.
The Port of Taipei is close to New Taipei City’s Bali (八里) and Tamsui (淡水) districts, as well as an outlet mall in Linkou District (林口), he said, adding that expressways No. 61 and No. 64 connect the port with Taipei and New Taipei City, as well as Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, which is 25 minutes away.
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