Taiwan High Speed Rail, Driving in Taiwan, Learn about Transportation Options, Rules of the Road, Fines
The Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) was completed in 2007. The German/French designed lines and trains travel a north south route of 345km(210 miles) between the northern city of Taipei and southern city of Kaohsiung.
The trains travel up to 300km/hr(180 miles/hour) and have cut land travel time between Taipei and Kaohsiung down to 90 minutes.
As of 2013, there were 8 stations where the THSR made stops. There are currently plans to add 3 more smaller stations along the line. Current Taiwan High Speed Rail stations: http://www.thsrc.com.tw/en/destinations/des_route.asp
About the Taiwan High Speed Rail Trains
The trains sets are Japanese and the trains run with 11 cars. There are two classes for each train. Economy class also contains two rows with one row containing a set of 3 seats and the other a set of 2 seats.
Business class hosts both wider seats and two seating rows with two seats on each side. There is beverage service throughout each journey consisting of hot coffee/tea, snacks, and rice boxes. Each seat contains a foot rest, tray table, coat hook and a 110V outlet.
Purchasing Taiwan High Speed Rail Tickets
Prices for a High Speed Rail journey is dependent on the distance travelled. A one way ticket from Kaohsiung to Taipei on the express train is about $1500NT.
Purchasing tickets for the Taiwan High Speed Rail is easy and convenient. Tickets may be purchased 28 days prior to the journey date.
Tickets may be purchased at any High Speed Rail station counter or ticket vending machine, on the Taiwan High Speed Rail website, at any local convenience store.It is easy to change dates or return tickets before the journey date. There is a ticket refund charge of 20NT.
All THSR trains are assigned seats so tickets will have both a car number and seat number.
To check on train schedules and prices go to the Taiwan High Speed Rail link: http://www.thsrc.com.tw/en/index.asp
Purchasing Early Bird Tickets on the Taiwan High Speed Rail
Early Bird Tickets are offered for all journeys from 28 days before the travel date up until 8 days before the travel date.
Early Bird ticket discounts vary from 35%, 20%,10% depending on availability.
Early Bird Tickets only apply to Economy reserved seats.
Although Early Bird Tickets are available through all purchasing channels, purchasing online is the most convenient and recommended way.
Taiwan High Speed Rail and the transportation systems of Taiwan cities
The Taiwan High Speed Rail connects very easily and conveniently to the MRT and public transportation system of Taipei and Kaohsiung.
In Taipei City, the HSR stops at the Taipei Main Train Station which is a major transportation hub including public buses, out of city buses, Taiwan Rail System and the Taipei MRT.
The Kaohsiung HSR station connects to the Kaohsiung MRT and the Taiwan Rail System.
Other cities and stops have plans to connect their public transportation systems into the HSR stations.
Traffic in Taiwan
Traffic Rules & Fines
This is one area that actually makes me laugh to myself as I think about it. Are there any traffic rules in Taiwan? This is a question most people wonder about, actually there are, however most people ignore them. Therefore I will touch on a few of my own traffic rules of survival.
- The First rule to remember is that there are seemingly no rules. Be very careful when you drive (Taipei is certainly better than Kaohsiung or other more rural parts of Taiwan)
- The bigger vehicle has the right of way. Large trucks over busses, then busses over blue trucks, etc. The motorcycle is at the bottom of the right-of-way chain just above bicycles and pedestrians.
- You may have heard that you can drive a 50cc scooter without a license but this is not true. You do need an up to date IDL or a Local Taiwanese License.
- You must wear a motorcycle helmet. This is one law that the police do enforce. There is a NT$500 fine for each person who is not wearing a helmet. (although this varies from city to city and in rural areas is still often ignored, and you may find it quite odd that children do not "require" helmets in the eyes of most policemen).
- Contrary to traffic rules in North America, you can NOT turn right on a red light whether you stop or not.
- Pay special attention to the blue trucks and taxis, these guys are on the road all day and tend to think that this is their territory and can do anything they want.
- Don't get too pissed off and give people the finger freely. "Road rage" here can be very ugly especially if you're a foreigner. This rule especially applies to those black BMW's you see on the road because a lot of the time these are owned by gangsters and they won't hesitate a second to stop and take exception to your objections.
- If you are driving a motorcycle you can NOT make a left hand turn at major intersections. You must first go through the green light and wait on the other side of the intersection until the other light turns green. This law is enforced more in Taipei than other cities, however the police have started to enforce it in Taichung and Kaohsiung as well.
- If you are new to Taiwan and have decided to ride a motorcycle, I'll give you my view on driving in Taiwan. If you have ever snow skied just think of driving in Taiwan as the same. The people in front of you are the downhill skiers, they have the right of way, no matter what they do. Don't worry to much about the people behind you because they are also worried about the people in front of them. The only difference from snow skiing is if a person merges from one run onto a new run they must yield to the people on the run they are entering. People don't do this in Taiwan when going onto another road, they just go directly onto the new run without looking. So again just think of them as downhill skiers and give then the right away. The main hazards that you have to look out for are the little blue trucks, taxis, and people opening their car doors. This makes sense to me I hope it does for you as well. "Have a good run"
** These fines are subject to change. Please consult with your local Foreign Affairs Police Station for more details and the most up-to-date regulations.
Driver or front seat passenger failing
to fasten the seat belt while driving in the city.
Driver or front seat passenger failed to fasten
the seat belt while driving on the expressway.
Driver or passenger failing to wear a helmet
while driving a scooter or motorcycle.
Dialing or Talking with handheld mobile
phone while driving.
Directly turning left through an intersection
on a scooter.
If the driver's B.A.C. (Breath Alcohol Concentration)
level is over the regulated limit, the driver shall be
immediately prohibited to drive and the driving license
shall be suspended for 1 year and fined. In the event of
an injury accident, the driving license shall be suspended
for 2 years. In the event of serious injury or death,
the driving license shall be revoked for life.
|NT$15,000 to NT$60,000|
Refusal to take a BAC test will result in the driver being
fined and having his or her drivers license revoked.
Motor Vehicle Branches
Taipei City Motor Vehicle Branch:
No. 21, Sec. 4, Bade Rd (Pa-Te Rd)., Sungshan Chiu, Taipei, Taiwan 105, R.O.C
Tel: (02) 2763-0155
Official Website: http://188.8.131.52/tcmvd/index.jsp
Taichung City Motor Vehicle Station:
No77, Pei Tun Rd, Taichung City
Tel: (04) 22341103
*Every second Saturday of the month have driver license test service. No vehicle transfer service.*
Kaohsiung City Motor Vehicle Main Branch:
No.71, Demin Road, Nantzu District, Kaohsiung City
Tel: (07) 3613161 or 3656411
Fax: (07) 3619367
(this branch is located past the main Nantze processing zone on Demin Rd. not too far from a golf driving range)
Kaohsiung City Motor Vehicle South Branch
No.22, Ankang Road, Linya District, Kaohsiung City
Tel: (07) 225-7812
Fax: (07) 225-8531
(this branch is located near the older Carrefour just off Dasuen Rd. It's just South of the railroad tracks)
If you are unfortunate enough to get involved in an accident you should be aware that if the person who hit you has a license he or she has insurance. In Taiwan anyone who has a license has mandatory third party injury insurance. However things work a little different here in Taiwan, usually fender benders are resolved on the spot with a some kind of roadside cash settlement. So if the other person is at fault, you can collect, and if you are at fault, then you'll have to come up with some money. If neither of you are willing to claim who is at fault you may have to call in the police, see useful numbers for the number to call in your area. If you worried that you don't have a license and therefore being responsible regardless of who was at fault, don't worry, responsibility for the accident is determined by the police based on what happened. However, keep in mind that you will probably get a ticket for driving without a license which is around NT$6000 so you will have to decide whether it is worth it getting the police involved or just settling with the person.
Another point to remember is if you feel the other person is at fault, and you have all the proper documentation in place, license, insurance , etc. DON'T MOVE ANYTHING. Wait for the police, this is especially true with taxi drivers. As soon as you move anything their attitude immediately changes, so it is best to wait for the police. If you don't have the proper documentation you may be better off taking a settlement depending on the damage involved.