Long-distance bus companies to raise prices in March

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Amid rising labor costs incurred by the new five-day workweek law, Long-distance bus companies have agreed to delay their fare increases until the upcoming four-day holiday period is over, transport authorities said Wednesday The Directorate General of Highways confirmed that at least seven major long-haul bus companies will raise their fares starting next month.

The seven bus companies, most of them running services across the entire island, are Ubus, Solar Bus, Yalan Bus, Kamalan Bus, Ho-Hsin Bus, Kuo-Kuang Motor Transport and Keelung Bus, according to the directorate.

One of the major exceptions is Aloha Bus, who said that it would assess customers’ needs to raise fares after the end of March. The bus companies have come under pressure to adjust their fares to reflect the rising labor costs since the five-day workweek law was implemented in late December 2016. But the transport ministry has managed to talk them into delaying their fare adjustment plans until the long holiday is over. The fare increases will vary depending on the routes, but some will see sharp rises.

The Taipei-Tainan route operated by Ubus, which runs services around the island, will see a rise in promotional fare of 68 percentto NT$370 from the current NT$220 for a single trip beginning March 1, according to the company’s latest announcement. But the regular fare for Ubus’ Taichung-Kaohsiung route will only rise by about 6 percent to NT$330 from the current NT$310. Kamalan Bus, which has a strong focus on routes connecting the northeastern county of Yilan and the capital city of Taiwan, will adjust its Taipei-Jiaoxi fare to NT$110 from the present NT$104, a rise of 5.5 percent, starting March 4. Its Taipei-Yilan and Taipei-Lodong routes will see fares hike to NT$137 from NT$129 and to NT$141 from NT$135, respectively. Solar Bus, which runs only four long-haul bus routes connecting Taipei with the southern counties of Yunlin and Chiayi, will adjust the fare scheme. The new price will be NT$420 for all four routes, compared to NT$380 to NT$390 currently, according to the company. Keelung Bus, whose services connect Greater Taipei and the northern port city and its neighboring areas, such as Juifang, will increase the fares for two of its routes, according to media reports. Kuo-Kuang Bus, which runs services around the island, has yet to finalize its new fare schemes, but the new pricing is expected to be announced in mid-March, the reports said. Capital Bus, whose long-haul buses run mostly between Greater Taipei and Yilan, has yet to say when it will start increasing its fares. But the reports indicated that its fares would probably rise in early March, with its Taipei-Jiaoxi and Taipei-Lodong routes expected to rise to NT$92 from NT$90 and to NT$128 from NT$120, respectively.