33,000 passengers affected by Taiwan rail power outage

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) yesterday experienced a power outage that lasted for about two hours and delayed 33 trains and the travel schedules of around 33,000 passengers.

THSR issued a press release to apologise for the incident that caused delays of passengers' travel schedules.

The high-speed rail service promised that passengers whose trains were delayed for over 30 minutes but less than 60 minutes can go to any THSR service counters with their tickets and receive either a 50-per cent refund or an exchange for a 50-per cent-off train ticket for their next trip regardless of destination.

As for passengers whose trains were delayed for over 60 minutes, THSR said, they can receive full refunds or exchanges for a free train ticket for their next trip.

According to THSR, a transformer substation in Yunlin County had a breakdown yesterday morning, which caused a service interruption for trains running between the Taichung and Chiayi regions for about two hours.

THSR said that five trains were cancelled and 33 trains were delayed for over five minutes due to the incident.

This is the second time that THSR has been forced to halt service across all scheduled trains for reasons other than natural disaster since it started operations six years ago.

Officials' Criticisms

Lawmakers from the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party as well as opposition parties yesterday criticised THSR's service standards and asked the firm to cancel the upward adjustment in ticket prices.

KMT Legislator Yang Li-huan said that based on the economic situation in Taiwan, THSR should not insist on raising its ticket prices.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wei Ming-ku said that because the reliability and safety of THSR services have been severely affected by issues the firm has experienced, it is not reasonable for THSR to increase its ticket prices.

Wei said that if the lawmakers of the Transportation Committee reach an agreement, they will refuse to review the budget for the Transportation Ministry next Monday in protest against THSR.

Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih yesterday said that the ministry will demand that THSR improve its operations as soon as possible.

Yeh said that people should separate the power outage incident and the upward adjustment of in ticket prices, but he understood that it would be a hard thing to ask for. Therefore, he will continue to talk to THSR regarding the ticket prices.