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No trains scheduled for east Taiwan on Labor Day

Taiwan Railway Administration set to operate just a few local commuter trains between cities in west

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A TRA staff member checks a departing train. 

A TRA staff member checks a departing train.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said on Saturday (April 16) that fewer than 40 train drivers will be working on Labor Day (May 1).

CNA reported that over 1,000 train drivers say they will join 11,000 TRA employees and not work overtime on May 1. This follows unsuccessful TRA labor union talks with Transportation Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) on employee benefits under the ministry's proposed "corporatization" reforms.

As a result, there will be only 40 drivers left to operate trains on the national holiday. This will make the operation of the east coast service impossible on May 1, with limited local trains available for western Taiwan.

Up to 1,200 train drivers had originally been scheduled to work that day. However, the latest internal survey shows that fewer than 40 people are willing to work on the second day of the three-day holiday.

In response to the severe manpower shortage, the TRA is planning to halt the east coast service and operate just a few local commuter trains between cities in the country's west. Ticket refund policies and alternative travel arrangements will likely be announced next week.

The TRA said fewer train tickets than normal have been booked for May 1 as the public is aware of the staff shortage after learning about the union's plan. COVID fears have also dampened demand for train travel.