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Old July 11th, 2013, 07:50 PM   #201
hkskyline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swede View Post
Any followup on this?
Fri, Apr 19, 2013
Bomb case suspect spills details of plan
FALL GUY:Police said the main suspect in the case may have planned to cover his tracks by blowing up a co-conspirator, adding that his motive needs investigation
Taipei Times

The police said the preliminary results of the investigation into the explosive devices planted on a high-speed rail train and outside a lawmaker’s office indicate that the main suspect may have intended for his co-conspirator to die in the incident.

Hu Tsung-hsien (胡宗賢) and Chu Ya-tong (朱亞東), the two prime suspects in the case, are alleged to have placed suitcases containing explosive devices on northbound high-speed rail train No. 616 and outside Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Chia-chen’s (盧嘉辰) New Taipei City (新北市), Tucheng District (土城) office on Friday last week before boarding a plane to China.

The two were apprehended in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, and repatriated to Taiwan on Tuesday.

During questioning on Wednesday night, Chu agreed to cooperate with investigators and to reveal what he knew of Hu’s alleged plans after police made it clear how dangerous those plans had been to Chu himself.

Chu said he did not know the suitcases contained explosives until he smelled gasoline, adding that he had asked Hu after getting off the train whether the stakes were not too high.

“Hu did not answer my questionand continued with the plan to place the devices outside Lu’s office,” police reported Chu as saying.

Police said that Chu arrived at the station in Taichung as agreed by telephone on Tuesday and boarded the train — traveling from Zuoying (左營) to Taipei — with a ticket through to Hsinchu.

Hu had not explicitly told Chu to get off at Hsinchu, and it was only after Chu called Hu to tell him that hydrochloric acid had started leaking out of the suitcase and that he could smell gasoline that Hu told him to get off the train, police said.

The police said that the timing device in the suitcase had been set for 9:30am, and Chu got off the train at 9:26am, meaning that he only had a four-minute window to leave the area.

Chu said that after they arrived in the vicinity of Lu’s office at 11:30am, Hu had not immediately planted the explosive device, but drove the car around for about an hour before telling Chu to drop off the suitcases at the door of Lu’s office at about 12:30pm.

Video footage from surveillance cameras showed that the moment Chu placed the suitcases near Lu’s office coincided with the time the devices had been set to explode.

Chu had been in great danger while placing the suitcases, police said, adding that they suspected that Hu had intended for Chu to take the fall for him.

Police said that if Chu had died Hu might have escaped arrest because of insufficient evidence, adding that it might have worked, as Chu was the last link in the plot.

Prior to discovering Chu’s involvement, police discovered that the two alleged culprits had met with a man surnamed Shih (施) to obtain taxi permits from two brothers, surnamed Lai (賴), which they used to buy an SUV allegedly used in the incident.

As Hu is a lawyer of some renown in Taichung, prosecutors said that his motive — which Hu claimed was simple dissatisfaction with the state of society — needed further investigation, adding that they were removing the possibility of extortion as a motive, as he had not asked for money from the legislator or from Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp after placing the bombs.

The New Taipei City District Court approved prosecutors’ request to detain the two suspects on Wednesday on grounds that the two — charged with attempted murder, violation of the Act on Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives (槍砲彈藥刀械管制條例), attempted sabotage of national public business and violation of the Public Safety Act (公共危險罪) — had committed heinous acts.
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Old July 12th, 2013, 10:19 AM   #202
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BREAKING GROUND : Construction of stations in the two other counties still without HSR stations, Miaoli and Changhua, will start on Jan. 25 and Feb. 6 respectively
Taipei Times
Mon, Jan 14, 2013

Construction of the high-speed rail (HSR) station in Yunlin County is scheduled to commence in Huwei Township (虎尾) tomorrow, with costs to exceed NT$1.5 billion (US$51.8 million).

All three new stations are to become operational by 2015, the bureau added.

Meanwhile, the bureau said that the government has completed the building of the high-speed rail station in Taipei’s Nangang (南港) district and handed it over to the THSRC to install the machinery and railway tracks. The contract stipulates that the company must complete the work by 2015.

The bureau said the company would need to re-examine its operational model because the number of stations has increased from eight to 12, and the travel time of the express train service from Taipei to Kaohsiung must not exceed 96 minutes.

THSRC estimated that travel time from Taipei to Kaohsiung would increase to two-and-a-half hours if the train stops at every station along the route except Nangang.
Can they explain why?
The existing express trains take 1:36 Taibei to Zuoying, skipping 4 stations:
Taoyuan
Xinchu
Chiayi
Tainan
The all-stop trains take 2:00. Which is 24 minutes more.
That makes 6 minutes per stop.
So, when 3 more intermediate stops are added, should the all-stop trains take "two-and-a-half hours", meaning 2:30, or should they complete the trip in 2:18 - the extra 18 minutes for the 3 extra stops at 6 minutes each?
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Old July 12th, 2013, 10:50 AM   #203
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Quote:
the travel time of the express train service from Taipei to Kaohsiung must not exceed 96 minutes.
Where does this 96 minutes come from? The time required to be competitive with airlines? Some politicians wishes? I say let the railways decide what are the best times for their services, and run as fast as required, not as fast as possible, and leave government meddling out of it.
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Old July 12th, 2013, 01:10 PM   #204
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
Can they explain why?
The existing express trains take 1:36 Taibei to Zuoying, skipping 4 stations:
Taoyuan
Xinchu
Chiayi
Tainan
The all-stop trains take 2:00. Which is 24 minutes more.
That makes 6 minutes per stop.
So, when 3 more intermediate stops are added, should the all-stop trains take "two-and-a-half hours", meaning 2:30, or should they complete the trip in 2:18 - the extra 18 minutes for the 3 extra stops at 6 minutes each?
I haven't seen the new schedule yet as the 2.5 hours is just an estimate, but I suspect the overall average speed will be reduced with these new stops, so the whole trip will take longer than the 6 additional minutes per stop.
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Old July 13th, 2013, 09:03 AM   #205
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The "6 minutes per stop" is a bit off as the issue stems from the train having to slow down and accelerate back up to full speed. THSR services usually have a dwell time of less than 120 seconds; if we look at it this way, the train spends only two minutes to slow down and only two minutes to get back up to speed (roughly).

The problem with the 96-minute travel time is that Taiwan is a small country. Unless one is planning a one-day, round trip up and down the island, time savings are marginal and highly critical.

For example, travelling between Taipei and Taichung takes nearly an hour by THSR and costs 700NT per trip. On the other hand, TRA express services make the trip in just a little over two hours, for just 375NT. Unless one is very pressed for time and needs that extra hour, most people prefer to save money and take the TRA instead of high speed rail.

Factor that THSR stations are usually far away from the city center and one needs to spend more time to travel anyways (whereas most TRA stations are in the city center), it becomes obvious that any slight reduction of speed for THSR will have highly negative impacts on its competitiveness.
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Old July 13th, 2013, 09:57 AM   #206
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Swordsman View Post
The "6 minutes per stop" is a bit off as the issue stems from the train having to slow down and accelerate back up to full speed. THSR services usually have a dwell time of less than 120 seconds; if we look at it this way, the train spends only two minutes to slow down and only two minutes to get back up to speed (roughly).
Loses, not spends. That´s an important difference. The train is covering some distance at slower speeds while decelerating and accelerating, so the through train would spend some time covering these distances at full speed.
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For example, travelling between Taipei and Taichung takes nearly an hour by THSR and costs 700NT per trip. On the other hand, TRA express services make the trip in just a little over two hours, for just 375NT. Unless one is very pressed for time and needs that extra hour, most people prefer to save money and take the TRA instead of high speed rail.
West Rail via Taichung Line looks to be 363 km between Taibei and Xinzuoying.
On that distance, I count 77 stations including the termini quoted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Swordsman View Post
Factor that THSR stations are usually far away from the city center and one needs to spend more time to travel anyways (whereas most TRA stations are in the city center),
Looks like the only central stations of THSR is Taibei... or is Banqiao central for anything?
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Old August 5th, 2013, 05:31 AM   #207
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Rules on carrying hazardous items on trains tightened
30 July 2013
Taipei Times

Train passengers will soon be barred from carrying paint, bottled gas, firecrackers or other dangerous items on board following a recent amendment to the Railway Transport Rules, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said yesterday.

The amendment was proposed following an incident in April, in which explosive devices, which fortunately did not explode, were found in the toilet of a northbound high-speed rail train.

The ministry decided to amend the Railway Transport Rules in accordance with the Regulations Governing the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods, which covers explosives, flammable substances and other potentially dangerous items.

Railway passengers violating the new Railway Transport Rules face penalties of between NT$300 and NT$3,000, although those carrying medical equipment, lighters, matches or alcohol below 70 percent proof would not be fined.

According to the ministry, passengers have previously been found on trains with paint, turpentine, banana oil, bottled gas for barbecues, firecrackers, high-proof alcohol, hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid. The new rules, which take effect later this week, would authorize railway personnel to check any suspicious item.

Depending on the severity of the situation, as well as being fined passengers violating the new rules may be asked to leave the train at the next station, or to leave train stations.

The ministry said some legislators have planned to propose an amendment that would raise the penalty for passengers taking banned items on board to between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000.

The new rules have received mixed reactions from passengers, with some not considering paint to be a dangerous item, while others said they are willing to follow the new rules and say the government should launch an awareness campaign to promote them.

Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA), the nations largest train operator, said that some types of paint are inflammable and could endanger public safety.

The state-run railway service said that there have been disputes in the past because the old rules did not provide clear definitions for dangerous items, adding that as it does not have X-ray machines at stations, TRA personnel would need to watch out for suspicious items.

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) said that it would request that railway police handle any potentially dangerous items.

In other developments, the high-speed rail operator announced yesterday that it would offer discounts of between 30 and 50 percent on ticket prices for passengers aged between 12 and 19 on some train services.

The special discount for young people is scheduled to take effect on Sept. 1, and would apply to both local and foreign passengers. THSRC said the 50 percent discount will be offered on 91 train services each week, while 158 services will offer the 30 percent discount.

To enjoy the special discount, passengers must present a photo ID showing their date of birth and each young passenger is entitled to buy one ticket under the scheme.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 06:54 AM   #208
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Wed, Aug 14, 2013
THSRC’s price hike proposal panned as unfair and divisive
SOLE PLAYER : As the high-speed rail firm has no rivals, the government should take an interest in its pricing, the director of a consumers’ group said
Taipei Times

Lawmakers and consumer rights advocates yesterday demanded that Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) suspend a ticket price increase, saying that the planned hike is unreasonable and could further widen the North-South wealth gap.

THSRC announced on Tuesday last week that the price of high-speed rail tickets would increase by 9.7 percent from October, which means that the cost of a round-trip ticket between Taipei and Greater Kaohsiung would increase by NT$280.

High-speed rail ticket prices have increased by 12.62 percent between 2008 and last year, 3.47 times the amount the consumer price index rose by during the same period, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) told a press conference.

“This shows how unreasonable THSRC’s planned increase is. What is more intolerable is that the Ministry of Transportation and Communication’s Bureau of High Speed Rail and THSRC conspired over the increase during the legislative recess,” she said.

The high-speed rail firm has generally been profitable, with net profits of NT$580 (US$19.37 million) in 2011, NT$360 million last year and NT$200 million for the first half of this year, but the company has suffered losses in its non-operating businesses, such as advertising and property developments, Kuan said.

The operator’s poor business management further underlined why the planned fare increase is unacceptable, she said.

The increase is likely to create tension between people living in southern and northern areas due to its increased financial burden and widening the wealth gap, Taiwan Consumer Protection Association president Chen Chiu-hsiung (陳秋雄) said.

The government should take an active interest in the company’s decision to raise prices, since the high-speed rail service enjoys a monopoly, he added.

DPP Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) said THSRC’s priority is to improve passenger load, which has ranged between 54 percent and 57 percent during its six-year existence.

Lee said that the planned price increase “would very likely trigger a general price increase for all forms of public transportation.”

Yang Cheng-chun (楊正君), director of the Bureau of High Speed Rail’s First Division, said his bureau would request THSRC — authorized under its operating contract to adjust ticket prices — to offer discounts and incentives to underprivileged groups.
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Old August 15th, 2013, 12:25 PM   #209
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As someone who lives in Taiwan, I almost wish that the airlines didn't call it quits--so that THSR would have to keep ticket prices low in order to stay competitive.

Monopolies suck...
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Old August 15th, 2013, 01:18 PM   #210
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As someone who lives in Taiwan, I almost wish that the airlines didn't call it quits--so that THSR would have to keep ticket prices low in order to stay competitive.

Monopolies suck...
They didn't really have a choice, did they? The demand for domestic service dropped quite sharply, while the lack of a domestic LCC ultimately killed air travel's competitiveness against the trains.
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Old August 15th, 2013, 01:25 PM   #211
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Domestic flights in Taiwan? The island is only about 350 km long. Pre and post flight procedures are longer then the actual flight.
In France domestic flight along the main TGV lines has been decimated, because they couldn't compete on travel time, fares and location.
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Old August 15th, 2013, 02:24 PM   #212
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Quote:
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As someone who lives in Taiwan, I almost wish that the airlines didn't call it quits--so that THSR would have to keep ticket prices low in order to stay competitive.

Monopolies suck...
You can ride the bus or take the TRA trains. Those are still very cheap!
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Old August 17th, 2013, 02:29 PM   #213
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How much is currently the standard 2nd class price from end to end?
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Old August 17th, 2013, 07:36 PM   #214
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How much is currently the standard 2nd class price from end to end?
TWD 1,950
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Old August 18th, 2013, 10:45 AM   #215
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You can ride the bus or take the TRA trains. Those are still very cheap!
I know they are, and I use the TRA quite frequently. It just saddens me that the HSR has become a socially dividing issue.
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 08:06 AM   #216
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Old October 29th, 2013, 05:27 PM   #217
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High Speed Rail discounts extended to end of next year
Taipei Times with CNA
26 October 2013

Promotions launched earlier this month on the Taiwan High Speed Rail will last until the end of next year instead of expiring at the end of March, the company announced on Thursday, in response to public demand to ease the pain of ticket price hikes.

The decision was reached at a board meeting after calls for an extension from both the minister of transportation and communications and some lawmakers, a company spokesman said.

The promotions began on Oct. 8, when the company raised fares on the 340km rail network by an average of 9.69 percent.

With the price increase, a round-trip ticket between Taipei and Zuoying, Greater Kaohsiung, rose from NT$2,980 to NT$3,260 an increase of NT$280, or 9.4 percent.

Lawmakers had called on Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp to postpone the increases in order to lower the impact on the public in a month which has already seen a rise in the cost of electricity.

Yet the minister had argued that the price hikes were necessary to improve the companys finances.

The company began making a profit in 2011, but is still not considered financially healthy because of its debts.

The promotions include more than doubling the number of seats available for early bird discounts to 260,000 per week.

Under the program, travelers booking their tickets early enjoy as much as 35 percent off the regular price.

As part of the promotion, the company also launched a new preferential program under which passengers aged 60 to 64 can get a 25 percent discount on certain trains.

Passengers aged 65 or older continue to pay half price for their rides.
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Old November 3rd, 2013, 01:58 PM   #218
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Sun, Nov 03, 2013
Taipei Times with CNA
THSRC service disrupted by power cut
DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS : Delays affecting 15 trains, and the way that they were handled by the THSRC, drew criticism from the public and lawmakers across party lines

More than 33,000 high-speed rail passengers were affected by delays caused by a malfunction at the system’s transformer substation in Yunlin County’s Tuku Township (土庫) yesterday.

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) officials at the Chiayi Station said the electrical malfunction occurred at 11:21am and disrupted the power supply to the section between Yunlin and Changhua station, which is still under construction.

Three trains were operating near the Tuku substation at the time of the power failure — southbound trains No. 135 and No. 1635 and northbound train No. 138 — but no casualties were reported as the incident had triggered the trains’ safety system, which automatically stopped them.

The THSRC subsequently suspended operations between Greater Taichung and Chiayi County as it dispatched maintenance crews to fix the problem.

After failed attempts to restore power supply to the southbound track on the Taichung-Chiayi section, the company resumed two-way operations using the northbound track at 11:39am.

Overall, the incident affected the operations of 33 trains, nine of which were southbound and six northbound.

Operations of the section resumed full service at 2pm after power supply was fully restored at 1:39pm, and returned to normal at about 4pm.

The THSRC was still investigating the cause of the malfunction.

In an effort to minimize the impact of the incident on passengers, THSRC personnel at Chiayi and Zuoying stations provided water and bread to travelers lining up at the stations for ticket refunds or looking for an alternative means of transportation.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Greater Tainan Councilor Lin Mei-yan (林美燕) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Council of Agriculture Deputy Minister Wang Cheng-teng (王政騰) were three of the passengers affected by the incident.

“I was originally scheduled to attend a public event in Tainan at 2pm, but because of the delays, I had to cancel the activity at the last minute and make telephone calls to my constituents to apologize,” Lin said.

However, the THSRC has neither issued an apology nor rolled out any compensation measures over the incident, Lin said.

A passenger surnamed Wan (萬) said she had no knowledge of the incident until after she had boarded a northbound train departing Tainan station at 12:49pm, when she heard an announcement saying that the train’s departure might be delayed.

“I was not told how long the delay might be … so I ended up waiting on the train for about an hour,” Wan said.

The delays also met with criticism from the public and lawmakers across party lines, with many criticizing the THSRC for raising its fares by an average of 9.69 percent last month despite providing what they described as unsatisfactory service.

KMT Legislator Lin Kuo-cheng (林國正) said yesterday’s electrical malfunction, coupled with two incidents in April, proved that the THSRC is incapable of handling problems.

On April 12, passengers were evacuated after explosives were found on a high-speed train. Thirteen days later, the THSRC suspended its services for four hours due to a signaling system abnormality.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said it was evident that the price hikes did not prompt the company to provide better service to passengers, but rather fueled its mentality of “I am the boss.”
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Old February 15th, 2014, 06:20 AM   #219
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More smartphones, tablets being left on trains, planes
21 January 2014
Taipei Times

Public transportation companies are used to seeing all manner of things being left behind in their vehicles, with a growing trend over recent years for phones and tablets.

According to information provided by Taiwan High Speed Rail Co, last year more than 60,000 items were lost, misplaced or simply forgotten by their owners across its eight stations, with an average of 5,000 items found by its staff each month.

The statistics showed that more than 60 percent of the items were reclaimed.

Placards used to designate ancestors, deities or the images of deceased family members have been found on its trains, while there have also been instances of customers leaving behind false teeth or walking aids, the company said.

It said that it had even found pets that have been left on its trains.

Taiwan Railways Administration said it has also found items including a statue of a deity, a diary, false teeth, a backpack, a bouquet of flowers and a ukulele on its trains, adding that it has only a 26 percent reclaim rate.

Airplane companies also said that on average between 100 and 200 items are left each month.

TransAsia Airways said it has an average of 150 items per month, adding that the highest rates of reclaimed items were for electronic products, at about 90 percent, adding that other items had a 70 percent chance of being reclaimed.

TransAsia said the top five items left on its planes are thermal flasks, glasses, gifts purchased abroad, smartphones and tablets.

China Airlines said that Bibles, rings, earrings, prayer beads, smartphones, passports, tablets and glasses are amongst the items that have been found left on its planes, adding that in recent years the number of electronic products left behind has steadily increased.
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Old February 15th, 2014, 06:22 AM   #220
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Hsinchu

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