Transit ridership last year declined amid the COVID-19 pandemic, dropping nearly to the lowest level in a decade, a report released by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said.
Ridership on public transportation last year — 99 percent of which was on buses, trains and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) systems — fell to 2.12 billion, down 13.6 percent from 2019, the report said.
The decline ended an upward trend from 2011 to 2019, when ridership grew from 2.05 billion to 2.45 billion at an annual rate of 2.3 percent, it said.
The ministry attributed the decline to the spread of COVID-19, which began in late 2019.
Taiwan’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was on Jan. 21 last year. The government introduced tightened border controls and disease prevention measures.
In April last year, transit riders were required to wear a mask and average daily ridership hit a low for the year of 4.71 million, before rebounding to 6.48 million in December.
The mask measure remains in place and is also being enforced at most public venues, such as shops and museums, as well as for large gatherings.
Last year, the number of newly purchased private vehicles and scooters continued to increase, as the government offered subsidies to incentivize the replacement of older vehicles with more environmentally friendly ones were set to expire, the ministry said.
About 460,000 new vehicles were registered last year, up 4 percent from 2019, and about 1.04 million new scooters were registered, up 14.8 percent, the ministry added.
The 80 million kilometers traveled by vehicles on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1), the Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3) and the Chiang Wei-shui Freeway (Freeway No. 5) in the summer highlighted the increased use of private vehicles last year, the ministry said.
The report showed that the monthly distances logged by vehicles from May to December last year all surpassed the corresponding monthly totals from 2019.
A survey of young Taiwanese showed that only 36.5 percent of men and 19.6 percent of women believe marriage is important, a trend that academics say is key to the nation’s low birthrate. Yang Wen-shan (楊文山), an adjunct research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology, yesterday announced the 12th round of results from a longitudinal survey of attitudes among young Taiwanese toward markers of adulthood. While few of the respondents, who were aged 28 to 32 when surveyed in 2017, found marriage to be important, 95.8 percent believed that being responsible for oneself should take precedence, data showed. Economic independence came in
SHRINKING FEMALE POPULATION: Last year, 107.74 boys were born for every 100 girls in Taiwan, which is a greater gender imbalance than in Japan and South Korea The Ministry of the Interior recorded 9,601 births in January, the first time the nation has produced fewer than 10,000 newborns in a single month, while different indicators showed that Taiwan might also be facing a population with increasingly fewer births, women and marriages. It comes after the ministry reported a record low 165,249 births last year, which was lower than the 173,156 deaths recorded last year. The nation experienced negative population growth for the first time last year, ministry data found. The number of births in January also dropped from a year earlier, when there were 12,510 births. In February, there were
The Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office has listed six people as suspects in a judicial investigation into a fatal train crash on Friday last week. Fifty people were killed and more than 200 were injured when the Taroko Express No. 408 train slammed into a crane truck that had slid onto the tracks near the entrance of Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The office also summoned six officials at the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) Hualien Engineering Section for questioning about alleged illegal business operations and unsafe work conditions by Yi Hsiang Industry Co and Tung Hsin Construction Co, the two
KEEPING FOCUSED: Premier Su Tseng-chang was said to have commended Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung, but said the tragedy takes priority Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has submitted a verbal resignation in the wake of the Taroko Express No. 408 train crash two days ago, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said yesterday. In a call, Lin told Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) that he wished to step down, to take responsibility for the deadliest accident involving a Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) train in 40 years. As of press time last night, the Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office had revised the death toll from 51, which had been reported on the previous day, to 50, after DNA testing showed that what had