Taiwan Railways Administration Director-General Du Wei (杜微) yesterday pledged to increase the punctuality of train services to 95 percent or higher this year.
Du made the remarks in a speech at a ceremony celebrating the 135th founding anniversary of the agency.
On Wednesday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said in an online talk show that the agency would not be allowed to raise ticket prices, which have not been adjusted for 26 years, until after it shows significant improvement in safety and punctuality.
Photo: Cheng Wei-chi, Taipei Times
The agency’s average punctuality rate between 2012 and last year was 93.4 percent, Du said, adding that it briefly fell to 92 percent after a Puyuma Express derailment in Yilan County in 2018 that killed 18 people and injured 215.
Train punctuality has risen to an average of 94.8 percent from January to May this year, he said.
“Our goal this year is to elevate the punctuality rate to 95 percent or higher,” Du said, adding that he hopes to set a punctuality record.
The agency’s punctuality rate exceeded 95 percent once, when it in 2009 reached 95.31 percent.
The agency has since June last year been conducting safety reforms, which has helped reduce the occurrence of incidents, he said.
The number of major incidents has fallen from seven last year to one this year, while the number of general incidents has dropped from 51 to 40, he said.
“We understand that we still have a lot of room for improvement, but we are speeding up the safety reforms by introducing a safety management system, and having train services validated and verified by a third party,” he said.
Trains that have been in operation for 40 years or more would by June 29 be replaced by new EMU900 commuter trains and EMU3000 intercity trains, he said.
The agency would also continue expanding its railway tourism business, he said.
More than 200,000 people used the agency’s tourism train services last year, generating revenue of more than NT$200 million (US$6.77 million), Du said, forecasting that railway tourism would become a key revenue source for the agency.
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