Autonomous city buses to hit Taipei roads in 2020

Driverless public transit to ease late night traffic demand, could take on passengers next year

Autonomous city bus accommodates 12 passengers. (DOT photo)

Autonomous city bus accommodates 12 passengers. (DOT photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taipei City Government is planning on launching autonomous city buses next year to help satisfy public transportation needs for passengers after midnight, according to the Taipei Department of Transportation (DOT).

The project was first introduced by Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in 2017 but was quickly put on hold after drawing criticism for the traffic problems it might create. Since then, the Taipei City Government has examined and revised the plan for the self-driving vehicles and plans to conduct road tests in the first half of 2020, reported Liberty Times.

DOT Director Chen Shyue-tair (陳學台) said that autonomous city transit will mainly be used to fill the transportation gap between 12 and 5 a.m. when human-driven buses and MRT trains have stopped operating. He added that the buses will undergo trial runs between East Gate and Xinyi District before free test rides are made available to passengers.

According to the Taipei City Traffic Engineering Office, the autonomous bus proposal still needs to be reviewed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). It said that each bus can accommodate 12 passengers and that a conductor will be on board to ensure the vehicle is functioning properly.

Test runs to be performed by Taipei autonomous city buses. (DOT photo)