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Ticket prices for bullet train seen too high

Ticket prices for bullet train seen too high

An opposition lawmaker accused the Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday of condoning Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp.'s plans to charge high ticket prices for the bullet train, which is expected to begin commercial operations January 2, 2007.
People First Party Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said the price of NT$1,490 (US$45.85) for a one-way trip between Banciao in Taipei County, northern Taiwan and Tsoying in the southern port city of Kaohsiung is "unreasonably high," and fails to reflect the consumer price index.
Lee said during an interpellation session at the Legislative Yuan that the NT$1,490 ticket price is too high compared with the country's consumer price level, which has mildly and gradually declined over the past nine years.
Lee argued that the MOTC had not taken people's finances into consideration before giving Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. the green light regarding ticket prices Wednesday.
MOTC Minister Tsai Duei did not respond to Lee's point immediately at the interpellation session.
MOTC Vice Minister Ho Nuan-hsuen, who was also present at the session, said Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp.'s ticket prices have not violated any contracts and that the MOTC has no reason not to consent to the price plan.
Ho, however, added that the MOTC will push the high-speed rail company to offer discount prices for bullet train rides, at least during the trial period.
Two days ago, the high-speed rail company received the green light from the MOTC to begin commercial operations in 2007.
The launch of the 345-kilometer high-speed rail system has been delayed four times since 2003.
The MOTC gave the company permission to begin passenger services amid controversy and claims by some members of a safety inspection panel that the high-speed rail system is unsafe because it still has many uncorrected faults.
The 345-km railway linking Taipei and Kaohsiung is expected to reduce travel time between Taiwan's two largest cities to 90 minutes from the current four-and-a-half hours.
The railway line traverses 18 counties and major cities and 68 townships in Taiwan's western corridor.


Updated : 2021-03-01 07:07 GMT+08:00