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Taiwan launches special taxi service for coronavirus quarantine arrivals

600 airport arrivals per day expected to benefit from the service

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Screenshot from Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung's Facebook page 

Screenshot from Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung's Facebook page 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Beginning Wednesday (March 4), a special taxi service will ferry home passengers who have to undergo coronavirus quarantine after arriving at Taiwan’s main airports.

An estimated 1,000 passengers a day have to spend 14 days in self-imposed quarantine after arriving in Taiwan, though 400 of them are picked up at the airport by relatives, the Liberty Times reported Tuesday (March 3).

That leaves 600 passengers a day coming from China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who are expected to rely on the new service, which is designed to eliminate contact between potential Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and passengers on public transportation.

Since Feb. 11, people required to self-quarantine who use mass transportation face fines ranging from NT$100,000 (US$3,300) to NT$1 million.

For short trips, the special taxis will charge passengers by the meter, and for longer rides, the fare will be set at twice the price of a high-speed rail ticket.

The taxis will operate out of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei Songshan Airport, and the airports in Kaohsiung and Taichung, according to the Liberty Times.

The measure will reduce the risk of infection and provide travelers with a reasonably priced alternative to public transport while protecting their privacy, officials said. Drivers will receive subsidies from the government.