The "Taichung eCard" has
been renamed "Taiwan Easy
Go". Cardholders can enjoy
free T.T.J. Bus service during
daily weekday peak hours.
Taichung City Government
Bureau of Transportation
Director Wen Dai-xin showing
his "Taiwan Easy Go" and
"EasyCard", which may both
be used when taking the T.T.J.
Bus in Taichung.
Taichung city buses are in
good condition, with spacious
seats and a variety of
convenient bus routes.
Free T.T.J. Bus rides with 'Taiwan Easy Go'
Words and photos by Taichung City Government
Translated by Ann Lee
As part of the Taichung City Government's current "Energy Conservation and Carbon Reduction" plan, it is offering Taichung residents a "Peak Hour Free Riding Plan" on the Taichung Transit Jet Bus (or T.T.J. Bus). This six-month plan, which starts at the end of May, allows passengers holding a "Taiwan Easy Go" card to ride for free during two morning and afternoon peak hours (7-9 a.m. and 5-7 p.m.), Mondays through Fridays. The goal is encourage people to use public buses to get to work, instead of driving themselves.
Great offers via Taiwan Easy Go
Explaining the "Peak Hour Free Riding Plan", Taichung City Bureau of Transportation Director Wen Dai-xin noted that morning and evening commuters swiping their "Taiwan Easy Go" cards during the above-mentioned weekday times could ride for free on any of the city's 44 bus routes. In addition, those traveling on 75 public transit bus routes passing through Taichung at peak hours will also receive a special discounted rate (NT$15/adults, NT$11/children) with their "Taiwan Easy Go" cards.
Bureau Director Wen added that, in an effort to promote seven new Taichung Transit Jet Bus routes, his department had designed a series of graphic emblems and tag lines to identify T.T.J. Buses. The "T.T.J." initials also resemble the Chinese phrase for "Riding Every Day", serving as an additional reminder to use this convenient bus service.
EasyCard holders also enjoy the same great offers
In the greater Taipei area, over 15 million EasyCards have been issued. As many Taipei residents also regularly travel to Taichung, EasyCard holders can also enjoy free rides on T.T.J. buses, as they pass through the city on the seven designated routes.
The new T.T.J. Bus routes cover the following roads: TaichungGang (Taichung Harbor Rd), WuQuan, LiMing, WenXin, ZhongMing/JingHua, YingCai/ShuangShi and BeiTun/GuoGuang. Some of these new routes overlap with current city bus routes. However, the T.T.J. routes will run straight through without making turns, allowing passengers to reach destinations much faster, and to conveniently make other transits with fewer stops along the way. If you are a holder of the Taiwan Easy Go card (or old "Taichung eCard"), you can also use these cards when traveling to Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung and Changhua counties.
"Riding every day is a great idea!" said Taichung City Mayor Jason Hu, encouraging everyone to use public transportation and the T.T.J. Buses.
Eye-catching bus colors allow easy public recognition
The Bureau of Transportation has officially requested that all bus companies responsible for running the seven new bus routes use distinctive colors to identify buses and bus routes/stops to passengers. For example, the TaichungGang Road route will be designated the Blue Line, whereas the WenXin Road route will be the Green Line, WuQuan Road the Yellow Line, and so on. Buses will run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with a 15-minute frequency.
Bureau Director Wen also stressed that free and discounted bus offers were only offered to "Taiwan Easy Go" cardholders and would not apply for those paying in cash. The cards may be purchased at 7-11 stores throughout Taichung, Changhua, Nantou, Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli cities/counties, as well as Hi-Life convenience stores in Taichung.
In addition, the Bureau of Transportation stated that all public buses will be linked to a GPS system in the future. Starting this year, GPS will be installed on buses serving 95 city routes, including 44 city buses and 51 highway buses. This will mean that the public will conveniently be able to use their computers and mobile phones to check bus locations and routes. In the near future, buses will also be installed with an automatic announcement system that tells passengers the bus route they are traveling on and the time to the next stop.
To date, 830,000 "Taiwan Easy Go" cards have been issued. In the meantime, the number of EasyCards issued has already exceeded 15 million in the greater Taipei area. According to statistics, an average 1.7 million passengers, or approximately 7% of city residents, use Taichung city's 44 bus routes every month. By comparison, over 50% of Taipei residents use public transportation, meaning that Taichung still has a lot of room for improvement.
It is hoped that a greater number of Taichung residents will make daily use of public transportation as service quality improves. When Taichung's MRT system has been completed, local commuters will easily be able to connect to MRT stations via T.T.J. buses, making the combination of these two systems the best way to get around the city.
The T.T.J. Bus route map
The T.T.J. Bus route map has been designed in similar fashion to the Taipei MRT route concept. Thus, this map will also complement the Taichung MRT system, providing passengers with speedy transit to their final destinations.