High-speed train, bus to provide backup on May 1

  • By Cheng Wei-chi and Jake Chung/staff reporter, with a staff writer

Additional transportation capacity from Taiwan High Speed ​​​​Rail Corp (台灣高鐵) and bus companies across the country will cover any shortfall in transportation capacity on May 1, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday, when presenting its emergency plan in response to the Taiwan Railway Labor Union’s plan to strike on Workers’ Day.

The work stoppage is estimated to affect transportation services for 358,000 passengers, said the ministry, which oversees the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA).

Around 13,000 of the TRA’s 15,000 employees are members of the union, which said on Tuesday that based on its survey more than 90% of its drivers would not work on Workers’ Day in protest against the plan of the government to transform the agency into a corporation.

Photo: ANC

TRA Director General Du Wei (杜微) told a ministry press conference yesterday that the agency estimated it would need help to transport 211,000 passengers on service lines in western Taiwan, 41,000 passengers in eastern Taiwan, and 106,000 for local and auxiliary service lines.

The TRA estimated that the high-speed train could help transport 90,000 passengers, while road bus services could help transport 136,000 passengers in western Taiwan, Du said.

In the east, bus operators said they could offer 82,000 seats to help the TRA, he said, adding that MRT and city bus lines would be used to transport passengers to local areas served by auxiliary lines.

Photo: ANC

A “train-like schedule” – essentially, buses on routes following railway tracks with the same designation as train lines – of 594 buses would provide a total of 23,760 seats, said expressway general manager Chen Wen-jui (陳文瑞). .

The TRA is still trying to convince train drivers to strike, Du added.

Freeway Bureau Traffic Division Director Tsai Ming-che (蔡明哲) said the strike would not increase road traffic volumes and said contingency plans were in place if it was the case.

Transport and Communications Minister Wang Kuo-tsai (王國材) apologized for the inconvenience caused by the impending strike, but said he would not give up any chance to turn things around before Workers’ Day.

Wang said he was “unhappy” with the TRA strike because it caused the agency to lose an established clientele.

He urged the union to reconsider and not harm the interests of passengers.

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Jose P. Rogers