Taoyuan Metro Brings Different Life

By Chan Meng-hin(陳明憲)Chen Ching-wen(陳靖文)Hsu Yu-shan(許毓珊) Liu Chia-yu (劉家瑜)Lam Tsz-ching (林梓晴) Chuang Li-cheng (莊立誠)
Passengers are carrying their suitcases to pass the ticket machine. Photo/ Chan Meng-hin(陳明憲)

Taoyuan Metro Weekend Ridership Reaches 60,000

Taoyuan Metro Corporation officially launched the Taoyuan Airport MRT (Metro Rapid Transit)service on March. According to the data provided by Hank Lee(李漢民), officer of Operations Division Department of  Taoyuan Metro Corporation, the weekday and weekend riderships have reached 50,000 and 60,000 respectively, and the numbers are still increasing. The peak hours are 9-12 am and 2-5 pm. For the first month, Taoyuan Metro Corporation offers a 50% discount on the ticket price, which is NT$80 for a single journey from Taipei main station(A1)to Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1 and 2 (A12 and A13). Will customers leave when it stops the discount offer?

Taoyuan Metro Corporation offers a 50% discount on the ticket price for the first month. Photo/ Chan Meng-hin(陳明憲)

Hank Lee said the strengths of Taoyuan Airport MRT are fast, convenient and reasonable price. Compared with other competitors, Taoyuan Airport MRT is free from traffic congestion, which makes it more competitive. Passenger Lee said that he used to take public transport to the airport, and after his first experience of taking a Taoyuan Airport MRT train, he said he will ride again as it is so convenient and time-saving. Another passenger Chang (張)complained the route signs from the airport to the metro station is so vague that he can hardly find the way. Despite of the poor route signs, he thinks the price is cheap, even at full price.

 

Hank Lee responded that Taoyuan Metro Corporation has already worked on this problem by setting up more signs at different spots. Concerning the safety problem, Hank Lee said," The company values and prioritizes passengers’ safety."At the time being, as there is no warning alarms for closing doors, the company has arranged more guards to blow whistle to remind passengers. "Except for the doors alarms, the company has performed pretty well on safety measures,"said Hank Lee. He also brought up people’s complaints like," Taoyuan Airport MRT is not passing through Taoyuan City center."This is also what the Taoyuan Metro Corporation is working on right now.

The Taoyuan Airport MRT offers a couple of trains: Commuter Trains and Express Trains. The latter offers only 4 stops and is especially provided for passengers who want to get to the airport directly. The time interval for each train is 7 minutes and the two types of trains will come alternately. Other than that, Taoyuan Metro Corporation cooperate with airline companies to provide in-town check-in service, even for those who are not taking the Taoyuan Airport MRT, by setting up check-in counter at Taipei Station. For the time being, four airlines are offering such a check-in service: China Airlines, Mandarin Airline, EVA Air and UNI Air.

The officers are standing by to assist people for the self-service check-in. Photo/ Chan Meng-hin(陳明憲)

Meanwhile, Hank Lee said the company is launching discounts for commuters and groups on different basis, such as monthly ticket for 30% and seasonal ticket for 40% off the price, which passengers can use after the first month. The company also publishes 5000 sets of souvenir ticket, which is designed by Easycard Corporation, to mark the establishment of the new line.

For now, passengers highly appreciate the convenience provided by Taoyuan Metro Corporation. What measures does Taoyuan Metro Corporation take to be more competitive and keep its customers will be a crucial question.

 

Taoyuan Metro Causes Huge Impact on Bus

Since Taoyuan Metro has launched, people are given one more way to get from Taipei to Taoyuan international airport. “It has created a huge impact on us after the (Taoyuan) Metro was opened,” said Wang Rong-guang(王榮光) , an associate in CitiAir Bus(大有巴士), estimating that his company’s bus traffic has tumbled 40-50 percent as people choose to take new Metro instead of taking bus to Taoyuan International Airport.

A Business man goes to take Taoyuan Metro at Taipei main station. Photo/Lam Tsz-ching(林梓晴)

Wang discloses that they are staying on the sidelines because of the uncertainty over the consequence of canceling the discount. “There are no gains to have a price war with Metro at this moment. No one can survive a price war.”

Wang said, the advantage of taking bus is that the station is just near your home, not only reducing the time to get to Taipei Main Station first, but also costing less in ticket price. Buses cover a bigger area and passengers can depart directly without wasting time for transfer at Taipei Main Station.

The average daily ridership of Taoyuan Metro has been 66,000 since March 2nd. Photo/Lam Tsz-ching(林梓晴)

“From now on, I hope that the public transportation market of getting to Taoyuan international Airport could be expanded, with the Metro coming in,” Wang said. There are several ways of reaching Taoyuan airport terminal. “(Taoyuan) Metro may absorb the passengers who take taxis or drive their own cars to the airport. Therefore, the whole public transportation system would get bigger.”

Many tourists take express train to airport terminal directly. Photo/Lam Tsz-ching(林梓晴)

“Taoyuan Metro is more user-friendly to foreign tourists and there are clear instructions,” Wang(王榮光) added. “Like students, business men or tourists are still their target customers.” Chang Chia-chen (張嘉真), living in Taishan(泰山), said she would take Metro if she goes to the airport since the bus station is far from her home and is too inconvenient.

Another passenger, Lu Juain-fu (盧建甫), a student who lives in Linkou(林口), has taken Metro twice last month and he thought it’s too expensive for him. Normally he would go to Taipei main station by bus unless he gets limited time as it takes the same time traveling by bus or by Metro commuter train.

Many tourists take express train to airport terminal directly. Photo/Lam Tsz-ching(林梓晴)

Many people still use taxis though Taoyuan Metro is running

People now have a new way to travel to the Taoyuan Airport, but what about the currently existing mass transportation? Take buses for example, their business has decreased since the Taoyuan International Airport MRT is offering a 50% discount currently. How about Taxies?

Taxi service in the Taoyuan International Airport. Photo /Liu Chia-yu (劉家瑜)

Lai Cheng-hsiang (賴正祥), a marketing director who works in Taiwan Taxi (台灣大車隊) said, “It did not cause us enormous losses when Taoyuan International Airport MRT began trial run on Feb. 2, 2017. With fewer backpackers, there are still many business travelers and family members treaveling together who choose to take taxis because of convenience and safety.”

Lai (賴正祥) said, taxis  provide many kinds of service including charter service (包車服務), the appointment of sending off and picking up  (寵物專車), and accompanied medical visit (陪同就醫). With diversified services, sending passengers to Taoyuan International Airport is only part of their business.

Some tourists still choose to take taxis home. Photo /Hsu Yu-shan (許毓珊)

“All business is about supply and demand,” said Albert Chun-te Lee (李俊德) , general manager of the Business Department of Taoyuan Airport. “Taiwan is not like Hong Kong. For small families, taxies are still a more convenient and flexible way to go.”

The advantage of taxi is “spot-to-spot service.” Many businessmen and backpackers do not like the “fixed stops” of the MRT. Taxis can run on different routes based on every single tourist’s needs. Chartered service is even cheaper than the Airport MRT ticket fare. He believes that they can get the customers back if they provide better service. People who take the taxis will keep doing so; buses will be influenced more. “But in the long term, I am not worried that International Airport MRT will take taxis’ market share,” said Lee (李俊德).

Poeple in Taoyuan International Airport. Photo /Liu Chia-yu (劉家瑜)

As the market of airport transportation is already saturated, sometimes we need to ask other taxi drivers to help out during peak hours. We sometimes need to call the taxis outside the airport to help carry passengers. Taoyuan International Airport MRT is not harmful for our taxi drivers – it just helps ease the traffic jam on Ground Access Road.” said Lee (李俊德).