Freeway traffic volume on Sunday, the second day of the Dragon Boat Festival long weekend, dropped 63 percent compared with last year as most people have refrained from traveling amid a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert, the Freeway Bureau said yesterday.
Last year, the long weekend began on Thursday and ended on Sunday, while this year it began on Saturday and ended yesterday.
Bureau data showed that the traffic volume on the second day of the long weekend this year was 43.3 million vehicle kilometers (MVK), down from 114.3MVK last year.
About 760,000 vehicles were on freeways on Sunday, down from 1.51 million last year, the bureau said.
The number of vehicles traveling more than 150km dropped by about 71 percent, it said.
“We have urged people to reduce travel across different regions in compliance with the government’s disease prevention policy. Large passenger vehicles and logistics service vehicles should have priority for accessing freeways,” the bureau said.
On Thursday last week, the bureau said that it aimed to reduce the number of vehicles on freeways to about 1 million per day.
To deter road trips, the bureau extended vehicles’ wait times on feeder roads to freeways, and closed all shopping areas and food courts at freeway rest areas.
On Saturday, freeway traffic volume was down 56.6 percent at 52MVK, bureau data showed. The number of vehicles traveling more than 150km decreased 65 percent.
However, the high-intensity traffic control measures backfired as freeway commuters and logistics vehicle drivers were reported to have waited on feeder roads for more than an hour before they could access freeways.
After motorists criticized the measures, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) on Sunday said that, from 4pm that day, freeway traffic would be adjusted to the same volume as on regular weekends.
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