Taipei raises water rates, ups taxi fares

Taipei raises water rates, ups taxi fares

TAIPEI, Taiwan - A proposal to raise water rates by Taipei City was approved by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday, and on average, each household will be charged NT$22 (S$0.951) more per month, starting as early as January next year.

However, households with a monthly water consumption of 20 cubic meters or less will not be affected. This group makes up 62 per cent of Taipei residents, according to Taipei Water Department.

Average daily water consumption is pegged at 210 liters per resident, which is equivalent to 20 cubic meters for a household comprising three to four people. These households will not see an increase in their water bills.

Taipei has adopted a progressive water-pricing system. While those consuming 20 cubic meters or less are unaffected, households using between 21 and 60 cubic meters will be paying NT$7 per cubic meter, up from NT$5.2 under the current scheme.

Households using 61 to 200 cubic meters of water will see their rate increase from NT$5.7 to NT$9; 201 to 1,000 cubic meter users will see a rate increase from NT$6.5 to NT$14; and those consuming 1,001 and more will experience the largest price hike, from NT$7.6 to NT$21 per cubic meter.

Under the new scheme, the last group pays four times as much as the group consuming the least water. But there are fewer industrial users in Taipei, and the city estimated that fewer than 1,800 industrial users will be paying the highest rate.

According to the proposal tendered by Taipei Water Department, water rates will climb 30 per cent in the future.

The department's Deputy Commissioner Chen Man-li said the rates would have to be hiked 60 per cent to reflect the cost structure more accurately. However, such a drastic change is likely to cause a public outcry. Therefore, the department decided to make a 30-per cent adjustment in the first stage, Chen said.

Taxi Fares to Rise in October

Not only will water rates rise in Taipei, taxi fares are also expected to move upward. The Taipei City Public Transportation Office said yesterday the fare will surge 14 per cent starting in October in Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung.

The starting rate of NT$70 will remain unchanged, but the NT$5 incremental charge will be levied for every 200 meters travelled, instead of 250 meters in the current system.

Also, the NT$5 waiting time charge will be levied every 80 second, instead of 100 seconds.

A six-kilometer journey will be priced 14 per cent higher compared with the current fare, the Transportation Office said.

The proposition has been submitted to the MOEA, which will rule on the matter on Aug. 15. If passed by the ministry, the new plan will be implemented in October at the earliest.

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