Taiwan's THSR to cancel non-reserved seats first week of April as virus precaution

Large number of passengers expected to return home for Qingming Festival

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THSR train

THSR train (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) is canceling all non-reserved seats for the first week of April as the rail company gears up for the high volume of passengers returning home for the Qingming Festival amid the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which has sickened 42 people on the island.

The THSR announced on Tuesday afternoon (March 3) that non-reserved seats will be unavailable from April 1-6, during which time many people are expected to return home to clean the tombs of their ancestors.

The move means that only those who manage to book regular tickets, which usually sell out very quickly for holidays, will be allowed to board the train. The tickets for this period will be available starting Wednesday at midnight on the THSR’s website and app as well as at kiosks in convenience stores across the island.

Multi-ride and periodic tickets cannot be used during the specified period, but their duration will be extended eight days as part of the compensation, according to the rail company. In addition, EasyCards and iPasses will not be accepted at the train station gate.

THSR said that during this period, it will increase southbound and northbound train services by 79 and 105, respectively, providing nearly 1.04 million trips within six days. Regular discounts for early birds and university students will not be impacted by the adjustments.