TAIPEI (CNA) — Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. (TRTC), which operates the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, said on Monday that it is planning to implement a new fare scheme on Feb. 1, which is aimed at rewarding frequent passengers.
Under the new pricing system, those who ride the MRT for 51 times or more per month will get a 30 percent discount on their total ticket fare, with the reward to be transacted back to their smart cards the following month when they pass an MRT gate, the company said.
Passengers who take the service between 41-50 times could get a 25 percent discount, while those riding the trains for 31-40, 21-30 and 11-20 times each month will get a discount of 20 percent, 15 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
After TRTC held a board meeting Monday to approve the new pricing scheme, the metro system operator scheduled Feb. 1 as the launch date for the new fare scheme, the company said.
But TRTC said an exact date for the implementation of the new pricing scheme is still pending approval from the Taipei City Government.
In early December, TRTC unveiled the new fare system which will offer different discount rates of up to 30 percent to subway passengers by taking into account how often they use the system.
The reward, which has to be charged through an MRT gate within six months after a passenger’s last swipe, could be used in the same way as money stored in an electronic EasyCard, the subway operator said.
While launching the new fare program to boost ridership, TRTC will cancel the current 20 percent discount to passengers using smart cards.
In addition to EasyCards, issued by EasyCard Corp. and originally used in Taipei Metro, the new reward scheme will be applied to three other electronic payment instruments.
They are: iPass issued by iPass Corp. and originally used in Kaohsiung Metro, iCash sold by President Chain Store Corp., and HappyCash, issued by Yuan Hsin Digital Payment Co. under the retail operations of conglomerate Far Eastern Group.
In response to the new fare scheme of Taipei Metro, which carries passengers throughout Taipei and New Taipei cities, Chung Ming-shih (鐘鳴時), head of the Transportation Department of the New Taipei City, told reporters that the New Taipei City Government will not oppose this new way of paying the subway system.
Chung said through coordination, Taipei and New Taipei have reached a consensus on the new fare program, and despite the plan to cancel the current 20 percent discount to passengers using smart cards, both cities agreed to leave unchanged the one-month all-pass ticket, priced at NT$1,280 (US$42.8), which offers unlimited travel on MRT trains and buses in the two municipalities.
The all-pass ticket also allows free use of YouBikes for the first 30 minutes during the 30-day period.
Chung said both Taipei and New Taipei governments will continue their efforts in ticketing information sharing as well as taking good care of senior citizens, minors and disabled passengers.