Monthly bus ridership in Taichung City reached 6.45 million passenger trips in March, a record high according to the latest statistics. Compared to the 3.88 million ridership in March 2011, there was a significant increase by 2.57 million passenger trips, an increase of 66%. According to Transportation Bureau, Taichung bus system hit 6 million monthly ridership for the first time in December, 2011 but declined to about 5 million trips in January and February 2012 due to Lunar New Year holidays and the winter break for students. Ridership in March 2012 rose again to hit the 6 million mark and even set a new high record, showing that monthly bus ridership in Taichung City may keep stable at 6 million or even exceed the 7 million mark. Seeing the current growing trend, Lin Linag-tai (林良泰), Director-general of Transportation Bureau, is confidence that the monthly ridership will continue to break the records. He said that the sharp rise in gasoline price on April 1 has since forced many people to give up driving their own vehicles and turn to the public transportation; on top of that, Mayor Jason Hu and 9 city bus companies announced together on April 12 to freeze bus fares to help citizens fight against inflation caused by the dual price hike in oil and electricity. City bus ridership is surely to grow, said Director-general Lin. In addition to the freeze of bus fares, bus service quality will be further enhanced. The program to select good drivers will continue. In addition, two new items, namely "assistance to the disadvantaged” and "company payroll” will be included for the first time into the evaluation of bus company performance. To fight for better evaluation results, the bus industry will actively upgrade its service quality, said Director-general Lin. To encourage people to make more use of the bus system, Transportation Bureau has launched the "Low-carbon Anti-inflation Campaign,” in which citizens who will have used any one of the following cards, namely Taiwan Easy Go (臺灣通), ETC, EasyCard (悠遊卡), and iPass (高捷卡) to travel on the city bus system for 100 times will be qualified for a lucky drawing. In another campaign, supermarket coupons amounting to NT$110,000 will be awarded to those who stop driving their own vehicles to take bus.
People who are interested in this promotion program can register online their own vehicle license plate numbers and ride bus for at least 50 times to qualify themselves for the sweepstakes. For more information, please log in the official website of i384 (“fall-in-love with-bus”).