Control Yuan member urges HSR to review its discounted fare policy


By Lauly Li, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Control Yuan member Chien Lin Whei-jun (錢林慧君) said yesterday that Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) should review the “necessity” and “legitimacy” of its 50-percent discount policy for foreign senior visitors, children and disabled passengers.

Chien Lin said she recently submitted an investigative report to the Control Yuan regarding to the discounted fare policies of the nation’s public transportation, adding that the Control Yuan has approved her report.

Given that HSR suffers from huge deficit and bears massive debts, it is not fair to offer foreign senior visitors, children and disabled passengers 50-percent discounts while asking the rest of Taiwanese to shoulder the pricy ticket fares, Chien Lin said. The Control Yuan member noted that the company previously said the amount of discounted tickets offered to foreign passengers is not as substantial as some may suspect. Chien Lin quoted the firm as saying that the policy raises the nation’s image and attracts more foreign visitors to Taiwan. Chien Lin said, however, that a shortfall of NT$199.28 million was caused due to the discounted fare over the past five years. She further noted that unlike Taiwan, countries like Japan, the U.S. and the UK do not have discounted price policies for Taiwanese passengers, according to information offered by the Transportation Ministry.

Apart from the HSR’s fare policy issue, Chien Lin said the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) also faces a similar problem. She further explained that the TRA has been paying the price differences for discounted fares for Taiwanese senior citizens and disabled passengers by itself.

The TRA has a shortfall of NT$4.09 billion due to the discounted fare policy over the past five years, Chien Lin said, urging the Transportation Ministry to draft an efficient solution to alleviate the TRA’s burden.