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Date:108-06-14
Division:運輸監理科
Click:24

Breaking through 50-year Plight of No Public Transport in Remote Townships with “Happy Taxi” in the Model City of Taiwan

Kaohsiung News "Happy Taxi for remote townships is to drive into Shanlin District on May 27, the first public transport service in 50 years!" The Transportation Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government and the Directorate General of Highways (DGH) jointly promoted the happy taxi service in remote villages. The service is specially designed for villages with more than 25% elderly population, without a bus stop within 500 meters, and remote tribes with inconvenient connecting transport. The shuttle taxi service was first introduced to the Jhongliao Village of Cishan District on April 15 to put the concept of elderly care into practice and received positive comments from the local people. Daily greetings between villagers become "Have you taken happy taxi yet?" On May 27, the service was extended to the two Yuemei Villages (月美 and 月眉) of Shanlin District that never had bus service for 50 years. In the future, the service will be extended to other remote areas, and the government is determined to build a model city of Taiwan with happy taxis in remote villages.
There had been no bus service in the two Yuemei Villages for 50 years. The official launch of Happy Taxi was held in Yue-Mei Elementary School on May 27. Secretary-General of Kaohsiung City Government Yang Ming-Chou, Director-General of Transportation Bureau Cheng, Yung-Hsiang, Deputy Director General of DGH Huang, Yung-Kuei, local gentry and hundreds of residents participated in this event. The students of Shanlin Elementary School gave a wonderful performance to celebrate the occasion.
The local residents in Yuemei Villages were very happy to learn about the introduction of the shuttle taxi service. "There had been no bus service for 50 years. Now we have public transport and it's comfortable taxi service. Everyone is very happy!" said Liu, a local resident.
Yang Ming-Chou pointed out that Shanlin District is one of the 9 mountainous districts. It is located in a remote area. Some neighborhoods such as Yuemei Villages have lacked bus service for 50 years. With more than 2,000 local residents and about 40% of them being elderly, the Transportation Bureau and DGH jointly launched the Happy Taxi Service to fulfill the transportation needs of senior residents. Taxi service by appointment is available in Yuemei Villages starting from May 27. Shuttle taxi is not only an innovative service, but also an effective way to improve public transportation of remote areas and protect local residents' transportation rights. The Happy Taxi aims at providing sound shuttle service, as well as fulfilling the responsibility of social care. The taxis go deep into the remote areas to improve the local transportation and ensure urban-rural balance in the welfare policy.
Cheng, Yung-Hsiang indicated the shuttle taxi service team currently has 103 cars serving 27 routes in 23 administrative districts. The route of Jhongliao Village of Cishan District has been warmly welcomed by the local people, and the taxis carry an average of 8 passengers per shift. Under the premise of continuously expanding the scope of service to benefit local residents, the shuttle taxi can save about 30% subsidy (about NT$5 million) every year compare to bus service, while providing a better shuttle service than the bus. On top of scheduled service like the bus, service by appointment is also available to offer more flexible ride options for local residents. This service model has not only won good comments from the local residents, but is also copied throughout Taiwan, bring a new look to the taxi industry.
Cheng, Yung-Hsiang said that the Happy Taxi service would be extended to other areas; APP appointment function would be introduced to upgrade the service; the numbers of vehicles and routes would be increased to expand the scope of service; the service would be spread into remote areas to serve senior residents; more drivers would be encouraged to join the array of service providers; and the immediate dispatch service would be made more convenient. The shuttle taxi would then achieve qualitative and quantitative benefits such as service optimization, reduced requirement of subsidies, and increased customer sources.
Cheng, Yung-Hsiang highlighted the 3 major benefits of the shuttle taxi. Firstly, saving money. A round-trip journey to the urban area of Cishan District used to be more than NT$500. It will make a trip cost up to NT$800 when the empty drive fee is added. Now residents only need to pay the two-zone bus fare, that is about NT$24, to ride on the shuttle taxi. Seniors and people with disabilities can enjoy the easy, convenient, and high-quality shuttle service for free if they ride with an e-ticket. Secondly, for the Happy Taxi program, the Transportation Bureau provides brand-new 6- to 8-seater taxis equipped with GPS system to ensure convenient commuting as well as safe and secure quality service. Thirdly, scheduled service is provided every Monday and Friday (outbound at 7:00 am and return at 11:00 am). The public do not have to worry about unavailability of taxis, and the right of travel is guaranteed.
The Transportation Bureau revealed that the Kaohsiung’s shuttle taxis are brand-new imported vehicles and provide door-to-door shuttle service. Drivers in the service team are rigorously selected and extra vehicles are available to provide dynamic support service. Also, the fleet’s operation status is put under constant monitoring. If the operating regulations are violated, the drivers will be punished according to the relevant regulations. Residents can also check the shuttle taxi status via the Kaohsiung i-Bus APP. This year, the appointment function will be added to provide the public with instant information of the service.
In case of poor service or bad attitude of drivers or a taxi missing a stop, passengers may report the relevant information such as license plate number, time and place to the Transportation Bureau (Complaint Hotline: 07-222-6816). If it is verified, the driver will be punished according to the relevant provisions of Highway Act.
Unit in charge: Chief of Transportation Supervision Division, Su Jyun-Cin (0963-111-811)
 
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Updated:2019-07-20