Taipei launches double-decker sightseeing buses

Taipei City on Wednesday launched Wi-Fi enabled double-decker tour buses, which enable passengers to listen to audio guide at different points along t...

Taipei City on Wednesday launched Wi-Fi enabled double-decker tour buses, which enable passengers to listen to audio guide at different points along t... (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--Taipei City on Wednesday launched Wi-Fi enabled double-decker sightseeing buses, which enable passengers to download an App for listening to audio guide at different points along the route, such as the old North Gate and Taipei 101. Currently the App provides audio guide in four languages--Chinese, English, Japanese, and Korean.

(An attendant is showing media how to download the App and introducing the functions it provides.)

The long-expected double-decker sight-seeing buses finally hit the road. The eye-catching tall buses with bright red exterior parking in front of the city hall on Wednesday morning attracted many public transport enthusiasts to take pictures. Some office workers stopped to watch with amazed facial expressions.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said he thanked the Ministry of Transportation and Communications for giving the city a subsidy of NT$40 million to launch the buses, and with that, the city is able to offer the over value price of NT$300 (US$10) each for taking a long ride across the city. Passengers can get on and off the bus unlimitedly within four hours. There are four types of tickets available for passengers' convenience--the night ticket, day ticket, one-day ticket, and two-day ticket.

Passengers can pay the fare on board by nine different ways, including cash, EasyCard, iPASS, VISA, Master, JCB, and China UnionPay.

The city is offering "two come together and one gets a free ride" benefits for limited 666 pairs a day until Jan. 26, but the offer is only available when purchasing tickets at Taipei Main Station, the starting point of the double-decker. So Visitors are encouraged to go there to begin the journey.

Ko took a ride of the special bus for the first time in the city he administers and enjoyed what he said “using different angles to admire Taipei.”

In his address for the launch of the buses, Ko said when he traveled in France, he found that French cities with more emphasis on tourism always have double-decker buses, which Taiwan has been lacking. Therefore, such buses were introduced to enable visitors to explore some of the top tourist attractions across the capital from different perspectives on the open roof, the mayor said, adding that he hopes the initial fleet of eight such buses will help boost the city’s tourism industry.

(Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (left) smiles as he takes a double-decker bus for the first time in Taipei.)

After the ride, Ko said he hopes the number of languages available in the audio guide can be increased so as to cater to as many visitors of different languages as possible.

The Department of Information and Tourism (TPEDOIT ) said that each of these buses will have one tour guide and one female attendant on board to serve passengers.

Currently there are two double-decker bus lines—the red and blue lines.

TPEDOIT Commissioner Chien Yu-yen said earlier that the routes will cover landmarks such as Taipei Railway Station, Ximen, North Gate, Taipei Expo Park, Taipei Performing Arts Center, Shilin Official Residence, National Palace Museum, CKS Memorial Hall, Yongkang Street, Daan Forest Park, Taipei 101, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, Huashan 1914 Creative Park, and more.