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More intercity bus routes in south Taiwan face cuts

Solar Bus to axe 4 routes after February, affecting services from Yunlin and Chiayi counties to Taipei

A Solar Bus staff member checks tickets before passengers board. 

A Solar Bus staff member checks tickets before passengers board.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Another long-distance bus operator said on Thursday (Dec. 2) it will suspend intercity routes after February, and two city routes in 2024.

The news comes after the closure was announced of long-distance bus operator Aloha Transport, which operates Kaohsiung-Taipei and Chiayi-Taipei routes. Aloha cited operational losses as a reason for the closure, due to fewer passengers during the pandemic.

Yunlin-based Solar Bus operates four highway routes — Douliu, Beigang, Sihu Townships of Yunlin County to Taipei, and National Chung Cheng University in Chiayi County to Taipei. It also runs two short-distance bus routes in the city.

The operator made headlines in 2018 for threatening to pull out of the market after the transportation authority refused to subsidize losses from selling concession tickets.

Solar Bus President Lin Yi-feng (林義風) on Thursday complained about the red tape that prevents his bus fleet from obtaining a permanent license to run the routes:

"We have been dedicated to offering quality bus services to passengers by procuring top-ranked, environmentally-friendly vehicles from abroad that no other provider in the country does, given the challenge of declining ridership, but today our investment in upgrading the fleet is discouraged by regulatory hurdles."

Lin lamented that it is the company's 25th anniversary in 2022, and it will be unfortunate to give up the intercity routes in the same year.

Updated : 2022-01-19 10:35 GMT+08:00