Taiwan Rail under fire for sending train to pick up 7 passengers

Train staff will receive overtime pay: TRA

A TRA train, but not the one involved in the latest incident.

A TRA train, but not the one involved in the latest incident. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) came under fire Saturday after reports emerged it had sent a special train to pick up seven passengers who had failed to get off at the right station late at night.

The TRA decision amounted to using a train like a taxi and showed a blatant disregard for the working hours and the fatigue of its staff, netizens commented on the incident.

Late on February 28, a train stopped at Dongao Station in Yilan County, but seven passengers who had bought tickets to that location failed to disembark, the Apple Daily reported.

When the train arrived at Nan’ao Station just before midnight, some of the passengers phoned TRA to say they had been unable to leave the train at Dongao because it left too fast. The station chief at Nan’ao called a taxi, but the company said it was too late to send over a car, leading the TRA to decide on mobilizing an extra train to take the passengers back to Dongao at no extra charge, the Apple Daily reported.

The passengers had complained that they had not had enough time at Dongao to disembark, but TRA said the train had already been 14 minutes late. As another train was waiting to enter the station behind them, train operators decided to stop at another platform, necessitating the opening of the doors on another side of the train, yet all changes had been clearly announced to the passengers, TRA explained.

As to the extra journey back from Nan’ao to Dongao, two TRA staff members each , had to work at least one hour extra, while the cost of the trip could be estimated at NT$3,840 (US$124), according to the Apple Daily. The TRA said its two employees would receive overtime pay.