HSR and Buses Help Replace Lost Trains 擬高鐵.客運應變 補當日35.8萬人次運能

The Taiwan Railways Administration confirmed that all train services will very likely be completely suspended on May 1, as the union said it will exercise its legal right not to work overtime, as a protest to the TRA's corporatization plan. This is the first time since 1988 for the train to stop running due to a non-natural disaster. In this regard, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kuo-tsai expressed his apology to the public, while repeatedly emphasized the importance of reform and his willingness to communicate. A contingency plan to replace train services were also announced by the MOTC. 

Wang Kuo-tsai, MOTC Minister: “Yes, I express my apologies to the entire public for this. Indeed, I initiated Taiwan Railway's organizational reform.”

Transportation and Communications Minister Wang Kuo-tsai apologized first before announcing the contingency plan to alleviate travel on Labor Day due to Taiwan Railway Labor Union's refusal to work overtime on the holiday. Wang admitted he has a heavy heart, but also expressed his determination to reform Taiwan Railway's organization. He emphasized his willingness to communicate and said it is the union that shut the door for negotiations.

Wang Kuo-tsai, MOTC Minister: “I respect the choice of not working overtime this time. I don't know how many times I've been rejected in the past for wanting to negotiate with the Union. My door is open anytime. I will continue to invite the Unions to negotiate.”

The MOTC stated that it has already planned transportation methods in response to the Union's refusal to work overtime on May 1, Labor Day. The high-speed rail and buses will provide capacity for 226,000 travelers in Western Taiwan. Meanwhile, a 60,000 passenger capacity will be provided by bus companies on the East Coast. MOTC plans to use the MRT and buses for regional travel. In addition, 10 lines of train-like bus services will be planned for certain routes such as Hualien to Taitung, Kaohsiung to Taitung, and some western Taiwan areas that cannot be served by regional bus companies. This particular service can provide an additional capacity of about 119,000 passengers.

Tu Wei, Director-General, Taiwan Railway Administration: “Taipei to Taitung is special because the distance is very long. We will use buses to transport passengers from Taipei to Hualien, and then provide train-like buses from Hualien to Taitung.”

Chen Wen-juei, Director-General, Directorate General of Highways: “At the moment, we have added a total of 10 routes for this train-like bus service. A total of 594 schedule times have been planned that will provide more than 23,000 seats.”

The Taiwan Railways Administration stated that all train services will be suspended on May 1. This is the first suspension of train services from a non-natural disaster since 1988. Train drivers are almost completely on legal leave on Labor Day, and only 50 percent of a train's operational staff will be working. The MOTC still will try to communicate with the Union up to May 1 and emphasized there is still an opportunity to temporarily offer scheduled train services on Labor Day. Passengers can apply for a full refund within one year.