TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Wednesday (Sept. 1) was the first day of school some parents in Taipei chose to drive children in their cars, causing traffic to build up around school zones, while public transportation saw passenger levels rise.
Though visitors and parents are not allowed to enter school grounds per Taipei’s COVID-19 prevention policies, many parents still drove their children to school in order to bid them farewell at the main gate and to avoid the risk of COVID on public transportation. As a result, traffic quickly increased around schools across Taipei, though some locals noted that there is always traffic in those areas at rush hour, reported CNA.
According to Metro Taipei’s statistics, passengers traveling on the MRT during Tuesday morning’s rush hour increased by 23% compared to the same time period last week, UDN reported. However, this is still approximately 20% lower than the number of MRT passengers before Taiwan’s local COVID outbreak.
Metro Taipei estimated that around 356,000 passengers took the MRT between 6 and 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, while on the morning of Aug. 25, there were 289,000 passengers. On the morning of May 11, just before the COVID outbreak, 447,000 passengers had taken the MRT.
Passengers on the Taipei MRT have been steadily increasing. (CNA photo)
Taipei’s bus operators also reported a surge in passengers. After all routes and buses frequencies were restored on Aug. 24, the number of passengers rose to around 50 to 55% of a normal day’s tally, and on Tuesday it was estimated to hit 65%.
However, as many companies lost drivers during the outbreak, and passengers have developed different travel habits, it will be difficult for transportation services to return to full capacity in the short term, UDN reported. Bus operators are currently working hard to re-hire former drivers and recruit new drivers.