Taiwan’s high-speed rail (HSR) network celebrated its 10-year anniversary today. The first HSR train left the station on time at 8:00 on January 5, 2007. It has since served almost 400 million passengers (not individuals), with a countdown to the milestone ongoing. The Taiwan HSR will offer special vouchers for the lucky passenger (more info in Chinese).
The 365 kilometers of track runs along the more densely populated western corridor of Taiwan. According to UDN, the introduction of the HSR alleviated the chaos and frequent delays of the older train lines that served the western corridor. Prior to 2007, people would have jostle for a seat on the trains, especially during rush hour.
Society of Railway and National Planning secretary-general Chen Yen-liang (陳彥良) said that because people were able to relax on the HSR, they were more willing to follow the rules and queue before boarding trains. Chen said, “People do not change their habits, but under the whole set of high-speed rail, people can follow the rules.” Chen emphasized that having gates and arrows for accurate projection of where the train doors will be at the station has improved order at stations, but there is still room for further improvement. There are still occasions when people see the elderly or children jumping the queue or others not waiting for passengers to exit the train before boarding.
The Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. (THSRC) also announced on December 29 that a free cellphone battery-charging service will be available at 12 stations along the high-speed rail line. However, passengers must first download the InforCharge app before using the service.