TAIPEI (CNA) — A plan to cancel the current 20 percent discount for Taipei MRT passengers using electronic cards and replace it with a new fare scheme offering discounts for frequent travelers of up to 30 percent will come into effect on Feb. 1, the Taipei and New Taipei city governments announced Thursday.
Under the new fare scheme, the discount for transferring from the metro to a bus or vice versa within one hour will remain in place, while discount fares for senior citizens, children and all-pass tickets will also remain unchanged, said Taipei Department of Transportation Director Chen Hsueh-tai (陳學台).
Also, the one-month all-pass ticket at NT$1,280 (US$42.8), which provides unlimited rides on MRT trains, buses, and YouBikes in Taipei and New Taipei City, will continue to be available, Chen added.
The new pricing scheme was approved during a board meeting held Monday by Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. (TRTC), the company that runs the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, before gaining approval for its launch date from the two city governments, according to Chen.
The new system gives discounts based on how many times a smart card is used each month. Passengers who ride the MRT 51 times or more per month will receive a 30 percent discount on their total ticket fare, with the reward being tallied automatically to their smart cards the following month, said TRTC Planning Division head Wu Chun-yu (吳俊佑).
Those who take the trains between 41-50 times per month will be eligible for a 25 percent discount, while a discount of 20 percent will be offered for 31-40 rides per month, 15 percent for 21-30 trips, and 10 percent for 11-20 journeys, according to Wu.
The discounts apply to four types of electronic cards, including EasyCard, iPASS, icash, and HappyCash, Wu added.
The new rewards system began tallying MRT journeys on Jan. 1 so frequent passengers will see their first bonus on Feb. 1, Wu said, adding that starting Friday, passengers will be able to check the record of all journeys made in the month on their electronic cards.
Starting in February, the discount will be directly deposited into the smart card electronic wallet and be valid for six months, according to the company.