Bus riders in Taipei, New Taipei must swipe twice starting today

Passengers must swipe twice when taking buses in Taipei, New Taipei starting July 1

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(New Taipei City Transportation Department photo)

(New Taipei City Transportation Department photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Passengers who board on buses in Taipei City and New Taipei City must swipe their cards both when getting on and getting off public buses starting today (July 1), announced the Taipei Public Transportation Office on June 6.

The policy was put into place to avoid confusion, as previously, some buses required passengers to swipe the card when getting on, while others allowed passengers to board through the back door and only swipe the card just before getting off. The new policy is being introduced in two phases, with the first stage running from July 1 until the end of next January.

During the first phase, passengers are encouraged to swipe twice, but they will not be penalized if they fail to do so. In fact, those who swipe twice will be eligible for a special prize lottery, with the more rides in which they swipe twice, the greater their odds of winning.

In the second phase, which starts on February 1, 2020, passengers who do not swipe twice will still not lose their card, but they will no longer be eligible for discounts when transferring between different buses, or to Mass Rapid Transit and YouBike, according to the office. The office said that the new policy would not change the price of bus fares.

As had been the case in the past, NT$15 is deducted from a rider's card when they swipe the first time upon boarding. When the passenger disembarks and swipes for the second time, they will either be charged nothing or an additional NT$15 will be deducted, depending on the distance traveled.

All passengers have to do is to make sure that their card contains at least NT$15 in order to allow for transfers. The top prize for the lottery is one full year of free rides on buses and on the MRT in Taipei and New Taipei.