Taipei Metro heavy user case not an offense

Taipei mayor suspects delivery service involved, sparking debate about commercial use of MRT

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(Facebook, Taipei Metro)

(Facebook, Taipei Metro)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — It has been determined that there was no violation in an alleged Taipei Metro abuse case, in which a monthly ticket user took rides worth NT$10,000 (US$340) at the cost of NT$1,280 (US$43.50).

Earlier this week Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) demanded an investigation into a case where a passenger was found to have overused the city’s mass rapid transit (MRT) system. Ko suspected the well-intentioned monthly riding program may have been exploited.

The program involves unlimited monthly rides at NT$1,280 and is primarily aimed at commuters, to encourage the use of public transportation. However, there have been cases of passengers overusing the service and racking up costs of NT$3,000 (US$102), and in the most extreme case, NT$10,000. Ko suggested the individual may have been taking the MRT for delivery purposes.

The Public Transportation Office (PTO) has said the user traveled on the MRT at an unusually high frequency, logging 1,000 times a month, or 30 rides a day, on average. Nevertheless, no misuse or violation of rules was found and the agency has no plans to make further inquiries, wrote CNA.

The incident has sparked a debate about using public transport for deliveries, or other business purposes. In an opinion piece, UDN panned the mayor of Taiwan's capital for questioning the motivation behind MRT rides, arguing that metropolises like Seoul and Hong Kong have been promoting subway courier services that employ senior citizens and make the most of the workforce while reducing air pollution.

Not only have a number of courier companies jumped on the bandwagon, but Seoul Metro announced in December 2019 plans to launch a parcel delivery service for the capital area using the subway among other existing infrastructure.