Traffic is expected to be heavy on the southbound lanes of Taiwan’s freeways from Tuesday to Thursday next week, as people return home or travel with their families to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday.
While this year’s Lunar New Year holiday officially begins on Monday next week and ends on Saturday, many people are expected to travel home tomorrow and to not return to work until Feb. 7.
Tourism Bureau data showed that the nation’s hotel booking rates are higher on Wednesday and Thursday, with rates in Yilan, Hualien and Taitung counties reaching nearly 80 percent.
Heavy traffic on southbound lanes is expected from Tuesday to Thursday, with the heaviest freeway traffic forecast on Wednesday, the ministry said.
Northbound traffic would be heavy from Thursday to Saturday, with the heaviest traffic forecast to be on Friday, it said.
On Thursday and Friday, traffic on freeway sections north of Miaoli County on the Sun Yat-Sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1) and Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3) would continue until the early morning, the ministry said, adding that similar traffic situations would occur on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on the Chiang Wei-Shui Freeway (Freeway No. 5).
To facilitate traffic during the holiday, the Freeway Bureau would waive freeway tolls from midnight to 5am daily from Sunday to Feb. 7, the ministry said.
From yesterday to Feb. 6, quick-charging for electric vehicles would be offered at the Hukou Service Area in Hsinchu County and the Cingshui Service Area in Taichung as part of trial operations, the bureau said, adding that similar facilities are available at the Guansi Service Area and the northbound side of Siluo Service Area in Yunlin County.
The ministry also urged people to use public transportation for holiday travel.
The Taiwan Railways Administration and Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corp would increase services, it said.
Discount fares would be offered for bus tickets for trips on freeways and rental cars along the east coast, it said.
The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) forecast that starting tonight, rain would be likely across the nation.
Rain is expected to continue tomorrow and on Sunday, when a rain front would arrive, and a northeast monsoon and a continental cold air mass would affect the weather, it said, adding that the rain would slightly ease on Sunday.
Temperatures are expected to drop in the northern, northeastern and eastern regions, it added.
The northeast monsoon and cold air mass are expected to weaken on Tuesday and Wednesday, but chances of showers remain high in the north and east, as well as in mountainous areas in central and southern Taiwan, it said, forecasting cloudy skies over the rest of the nation.
Taiwan would remain under the influence of the northeast monsoon from Thursday to Saturday next week, with showers forecast in the north and east, as well as in mountainous areas in central and southern regions.
In other news, the government would send eggs from farms in southern Taiwan to the north to ensure a steady supply during the holiday, the Council of Agriculture said, adding that it would also import about 600,000 eggs per week from Australia and the US.
Taiwan has a daily shortage of 1.2 million eggs, the council said, citing a rise in chicken feed prices, avian flu and cold weather.
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