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Taiwan contemplates congestion charge for rush hour traffic

Reporter Vivian Hsiao
Release time:2023/06/01 18:50
Last update time:2023/06/01 18:50
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TAIPEI (TVBS News) — During rush hour in Taipei City, drivers often experience frustration as traffic congestion doubles their commuting time to and from work. According to TomTom, a mapping and location technology company, Taipei City ranked 46th globally for average time lost due to traffic congestion in 2022, with 198 hours per year.

As congestion continues to be a global issue, New York City recently approved a plan to charge drivers for congestion. The plan, expected to be implemented as early as next April, will involve a daily variable toll of up to US$23 (around NT$709) for drivers entering or remaining within the central business district.

 

However, could this policy work in Taiwan? 

A commuter, Ms. Chao, thinks drivers may reject this policy in Taiwan. "Many people may be reluctant to accept this proposal due to the already high commuting expenses, such as driving, fuel, maintenance, and parking fees," she said.

"Furthermore, with rising housing prices, an increasing number of people are residing in areas distant from city centers, resulting in a need to commute by car for work."
 

Singapore, which ranks 127th with an average of 150 hours stuck in traffic, has already implemented a system where car plates are used to track vehicle entry into specific cordoned areas. Drivers are then charged based on the distance traveled, with fees adjusted during rush hours, sometimes reaching 7-10 times the regular prices.

If Taiwan considers implementing congestion charges, setting an appropriate pricing structure that incentivizes current drivers to choose public transportation is crucial. Furthermore, authorities should implement corresponding measures to ensure a seamless transition.

Associate Professor of the Department of Urban Planning at National Cheng Kung University Lin Han-liang pointed out, "The discussion of public policies should not revolve around the political ideologies of policymakers, but rather focus on those who are impacted."

"It is important to consider who will embrace the proposed changes and what the implications will be for them; this assessment should encompass not only the financial costs but also the potential impacts on work and lifestyle."

Currently, policies in Taipei City focus more on encouraging commuters to use public transport by offering discounted fees. However, as congestion issues worsen, local governments may need to explore more stringent policies for drivers.

Implementing congestion charges would also align with Taiwan's goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, providing an additional incentive for the government to establish such regulations.

The Taiwan Briefing

#Taiwan#congestion charge#traffic jams#rush hour#driving

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