High speed rail suspends non-reserved ticket sales to combat COVID-19

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s High Speed Rail Corp. (THSRC) said Thursday that it will sell only reserved seats on its train services between April 30 and May 4 to prevent overcrowding in anticipation of a spike in traffic during the upcoming three-day May 1 Labor Day holiday, as part of its measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

THSRC said no non-reserved tickets — which allow people to stand if there are no seats available in the non-reserved carriages — will be sold for travel in all the 769 trains operating during the five-day span.

In addition, no fixed-period tickets, multi-ride tickets or smart cards such as EasyCards and iPASS co-branded cards, will be accepted during the period, the company said.

The measures are being put in place to prevent overcrowding in an effort to lower the chances of customers being infected with the coronavirus, the company added.

As part of the company’s anti-COVID-19 measures, all 12 high speed rail stations across the country have been installed with infrared thermometers that screen passengers’ temperatures before they enter the station. If an abnormality is noted, station workers will take the passenger’s temperature again with a thermometer gun, the company said.

Any passenger showing a temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius will be advised, but not forbidden to take the train, as long as they wear a mask, it added.

Masks will also be mandatory for all other passengers and no food or drink can be consumed on the journeys.

THSRC, which currently offers about 180,000 rides per day, said it is now disinfecting its stations every two hours rather than every four hours as was previously the case, and has been fully disinfecting its carriages every day to fight the coronavirus.

The company employed similar measures during the April 2-5 Tomb Sweeping Festival holiday.