A Total Solution of Barrier-Free Transportation Services in Taipei
Speaker:Prof. Shiaw-Shyan LUO
Department of Transportation Management and Graduate Institute of Transportation Science
Tamkang University, Taiwan
Date & Time:26 Sep 2011 (Monday) 14:30 - 16:00
Organized by:Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


The public transport is considered as the best solution to improve traffic congestion. Today it is urged to promote public transport to meet green environment and sustainable development. Based on the worldwide experiences we knew that it is not easy to promote public transport. Taiwan is a small island, major cities with high resident density are encountered with different level traffic problems and traffic is getting worse especially under current new urban development. Furthermore, the key role of the public transport is to take care of aged and handicapped. Residents in Taipei city and its adjoining cities use public transport often, the usage percentage is much higher than other cities where their city bus, intercity bus and MRT are currently in financial loss.

It is understood that the flexibility, door-to-door accessibility and barrier-free service of transitional public transport is not so competitive advantaged to the private modes. In order to improve the competitiveness of the public transport, it must have comprehensive thinking and approaches. Firstly, we should achieve "last mile service". Public transport shall not be narrowly deemed as bus, transit, citizen bus, taxi, public bicycle, it shall also cover friendly sidewalks. Secondly, we shall improve seamless public transportation service by using e-bus system. The e-bus system has been installed completely in Taipei in 2009. This e-bus system has significantly improved the service quality in the remote areas as well as the bus transfer to/from MRT. The above could be referred as hardware facilities. The service attitude could represent as software that will impact the service quality but is seldom taken into account by the government and bus operators.

"Connecting People"- a slogan from Nokia. It means that a good service starts from saying hello and saying thank you. Good image of bus service can shorten the distance between driver and passenger. Citizen bus runs through small districts and could act as an angel to protect residents in those districts. Taipei City Government has worked together with all bus operators and non-governmental organization in the past 4 years to promote a movement for courteous bus services. Drivers are encouraged to say hello and thank you to passengers. Drivers are also encouraged to announce name of bus stops. The good service of Taipei Bus has been demonstrated during the Taipei International Flora Expo. Taipei Bus's image has been recognized by citizens and is formed as a special bus culture. The experience of Flora Expo showed that the barrier-free service of public transport is not limited to the low floor bus, but also include smooth and clearance of sidewalks. The most important is the SOP setup for handling handicapped get-on/off bus without barrier.

A civilized city shall understand and provide full cares to the disadvantaged social groups. The public transport can be the bridge to allow aged and handicapped to participate in social activities. No doubt, the public transport operators shall change their mindset in operation of public transport. Cares and loves are the keys to achieve sustainable public transportation services.