TTJ Buses transform Taichung public transportation with convenient, free connections
By Lishea Zheng Translated by Ann Lee
On May 18, Taichung city's public transportation system took a big step forward, as the city government's Transportation Bureau launched the all-new TTJ Bus service. Significantly, this new system will be free for the first six months of service, until Nov. 17. The idea is to create a convenient, efficient system that not only saves residents a good deal of money for transportation, but also encourages commuters to use public transportation as a step towards a mass transit system, and reduces carbon emissions. The TTJ system features seven main, new bus routes that focus on fewer stops at key locations.
The seven numbered TTJ routes are marked in seven distinctive colors, making them easy for users to spot, and buses will run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 15-minute intervals. Bus rides are free for holders of a Taiwan Easy Go prepaid bus card and EasyCard. What's more, throughout daily peak traffic hours (from 7 to 9 am, and 5 to 7 pm from Monday to Friday), holders of the two bus cards mentioned above can enjoy free rides on all the Taichung city buses (Nos.1-99). These buses will accept your Taiwan Easy Go prepaid bus card; all you have to do is swipe the card when you get on the bus and you can ride anywhere within the city free of charge (this service is not yet available for EasyCard holders). Passengers riding other buses (Nos.100 and above) within Taichung city will not be able to ride for free, but still enjoy a special rate of NT$15 (adult) or NT$11 (children). However, during peak traffic hours (7-9 a.m. and 5-7 p.m.), all holders of Taiwan Easy Go prepaid bus cards and the EasyCard will be able to get on any bus, free of charge.
TTJ buses do not accept any cash payments from passengers. Bus route numbers 51 and 52 run in concentric loops around the central downtown areas, crossing over TaichungGang (Taichung Harbor) Road. Routes 53 and 54 form outer rings also crossing TaichungGang Road, while 55 and 56 cut across the network from generally a southwest to northeast direction.
The blue No. 57 bus, also known as the TaichungGang Line, runs all the way down that road from Tunghai University to the Taichung railroad station, through key destinations in the heart of Taichung and across the other TTJ routes. The yellow No.56 bus--the WuQuan Line--not only runs along the entire WuQuan (WuChuan) Road and can also be used to transfer to the other six routes. Strikingly, the remaining five TTJ bus lines each connect to at least three other routes, as part of this interlinked network that has been designed for practical, efficient coverage of the entire city.
The TTJ Bus system is designed to be not only economical and environmentally-friendly, but also speedy in getting passengers to their destinations. In initial stages of use, it will take time for city residents to become familiar with the seven color-coded routes, to the point where they can make regular use of this excellent free-riding service, whether for getting to work or school or for shopping and other more leisurely destinations. Another distinctive TTJ marker is pop singer and TTJ Bus Ambassador Jolin Tsai's image on the sides of these vehicles.
Exploring Taichung via TTJ Bus routes
Details about the seven TTJ Bus routes and various destinations/attractions served by those routes are noted below.
Gold No. 51 Bus (YingCai-ShuangShi Line): Stops at Taichung Park, Chung Hsing Hall, Wen Ying Hall, Mayor's Mansion, Confucius Temple, YiChong Street shopping district, Chung Yo Department Store, Peoples' Square, Taichung Municipal Cultural Center, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, 3 popular shopping districts (ZihYou/JiGuang/DianZih-Electronics streets).
Orange No. 52 Bus (ZhongMing-JinHua Line): Stops at Guo Guang, Jin De, Beitun and Da Yong elementary school, in addition to Chong Lun Junior High School, National Taichung Agricultural Senior High School, Kuang-Hwa Vocational High School of Technology, and National Chung Hsing University (ZhongXiao Night Market).
Green No.53 Bus (WenXin line): Stops at Feng Le Sculpture Park, Wenxin Forest Park (Fulfillment Amphitheatre), Taichung Flower Auction Company (Flower Market), and TianJin and ChangPing roads shopping areas.
Purple No. 54 Bus (LiMing Line): Wanhe Temple, Tiger City Shopping Mall, Fengchia University and shopping district (Taichung's biggest night market), TianJin Road shopping district.
Red No. 55 Bus (BeiTun-GuoGuang Line): Stops at National Chung Hsing University, 3 popular shopping districts (ZihYou/JiGuang/DianZih-Electronics streets). Continues on same route as No. 51, from Taichung Park to Chung Yo Department Store, Dakeng Shopping District, and Jioushe Park.
Yellow No. 56 Bus (WuQuan Line): Chung Yo Department Store, ZhongHua Road Night Market, Taichung Municipal Cultural Center, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Wanhe Temple, Ling Tung University.
Blue No. 57 Bus (TaichungGang Line): Tunghai Villa Community shopping area and Yishu (Art) Street), Shin-Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store, National Museum of Natural Science, Second Market, First Square (shopping center).
It is hoped that riding TTJ buses will become a popular trend for reaching events and destinations. For example, if you are interested in viewing the fun, creative CowParade Taichung Tour exhibition (until July 5) of 86 creatively painted and decorated cows displayed around the entire city, the furthest ones are located on the grass grounds on the Tunghai University campus (15 cows), where visitors are welcome to explore the exhibit as long as they like. To get there, ride the No. 57 TTJ Bus, which takes passengers to the bustling Tunghai shopping district, Yishu (Art) Street and, finally, the Tunghai Villa Community. Meanwhile, the Nos. 52 and 55 buses will both take you to National Chung Hsing University, where you can check out the creative displays at the market there, selling organic farm products on every Saturday morning. Bus No. 52 also serves Taichung's most popular, and biggest, night market, located within the Fengchia University shopping district and a must-visit destination for local and foreign tourists alike.
The friendly TTJ Bus service aims to provide a basic, convenient form of transportation to the people of Taichung. The next time you're sitting on one of these new buses, you just might want to turn to the person sitting next to you and ask, "Where are you going on the TTJ?"
To find out more about the TTJ Bus transit routes and see the actual route map, check out their official website at: http://www.ttj.tw. There is also some other information noted about discounted specials for Taichung shopping districts.
TTJ Bus route map