Fewer than 70,000 people are expected to travel by train or freeway bus during the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday amid a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday.
Many have expressed concern that traveling and family gatherings during the long weekend, which begins tomorrow and ends on Monday, would spread the disease and worsen the outbreak.
As such, the ministry has encouraged people to avoid travel and stay home as much as possible.
Photo courtesy of Taiwan High Speed Rail
As of Wednesday, 38,863 high-speed rail tickets had been sold, accounting for 5.55 percent of total capacity, data from the Department of Railways and Highways showed.
Taiwan Railways Administration reported selling only 26,250 tickets for the long weekend, which translates to a load factor of just 3.56 percent, while freeway bus operators had sold 4,863 tickets, or 3.78 percent of capacity, the department said.
Railway and bus operators have all managed to keep their load factors far below 20 percent, per the instructions of the Central Epidemic Command Center, it added.
To further deter road trips, Freeway Bureau Director-General Chao Hsin-hua (趙興華) yesterday announced that the bureau would implement high-intensity freeway traffic control measures for the first time by extending motor vehicles’ wait time on feeder roads to freeways, and close all shopping areas and food courts at freeway rest areas.
Those who breach the rules on feeder roads would be fined up to NT$6,000.
The goal is to reduce the number of motor vehicles on freeways to about 1 million per day, Chao said.
The increasing number of people staying home has boosted demand for broadband services, as well as delivery services by post offices.
Chunghwa Telecom has attracted more than 20,000 broadband service subscribers since the CECC on May 19 issued the nationwide alert, of which 11,665 subscribed to its 300 megabits per second (Mpbs) service, National Communications Commission (NCC) data showed.
HomePlus Digital, the nation’s largest multiple-system operator, also reported that it has gained 4,127 new broadband subscribers during this period, while Kbro has attracted 2,595 new subscribers, the NCC said.
Chunghwa Post has seen a 25 percent increase in the average number of packages delivered per day ahead of the holiday after four private companies suspended domestic cold chain logistics services.
From May 1 to May 9, post offices nationwide delivered an average of 113,000 packages per day, Chunghwa Post said.
That surged to an average of 141,000 per day from Tuesday last week to Wednesday, it said.
As a universal service, the postal company cannot turn away customers, despite the increase in workload, it said, adding that its delivery charges are significantly lower than those of private logistics firms.
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