Taiwan businesses optimistic about 2030 electric bus deadline

Each year, about 850 new electric buses need to be launched

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An electric bus in Kaohsiung. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Even though only 3.1 percent of buses on Taiwan’s roads are electric, businesses are optimistic that they can meet the government’s deadline of 2030 for all new buses to go electric.

Of the 10,241 buses operating at present, only 317 run on electricity, the Liberty Times reported, with the association of bus companies calculating that each year, 850 new electric buses would have to come into service in order to meet the deadline.

Too many operators have taken a wait-and-see attitude due to a variety of issues, including the unclear structure of subsidies and the quality of repairs, the Liberty Times reported from a forum about electric buses Thursday.

A Ministry of Transportation official told the meeting that the government understood the problems, such as the cost of procuring electric buses and the efforts needed to maintain the batteries in working order. An overall development plan for the use of electric buses would be submitted to the Cabinet, the official said.

Since 2009, the number of bus journeys had increased by 18 percent to 1.2 billion, while 75.5 percent of remote areas were now also being served by buses, allowing residents to find a bus stop just 500 meters from home, the Liberty Times quoted the ministry official as saying.

At present, electric buses cost NT$1.12 per kilometer more than diesel buses, but if the government adapted its subsidy policy, the situation could be improved, bus operators said.