Friday, April 10, 2009

Taiwan - Transportation

It's been barely 15 hours since I had come back to Singapore from Taiwan. On a tour round the whole of Taiwan island, in a clockwise loop from Taipei down to Hualien and all the way to Kaoshiung, then back up to Taipei again. On a tour bus.

The roads in Taiwan are treacherous. There are no hard and fast road rules. For example, in order to do a U-turn in Taiwan, you don't wait for the road to clear. You simply inch yourself into the lane, and expect the cars behind to slow down for you (if they ever do).

Village roads aren't so bad, they are all paved, until the next earthquake hits them and roads gotta be rebuilt again.

Red lights are merely suggestions and not part of the highway code to scooter users, who take the liberty of riding through reds, riding into wet markets and shopping on their scooters and riding on pavements. Scary shit.

The rubbish trucks play loud music to alert the surrounding residents to empty out the trash early.

Taiwan's high speed rail, takes 90 minutes from Taipei to Kaoshiung, it didn't really feel all that fast actually.

And their normal electric rail trains, which are very confusingly run by 5 classes of trains all of which are of different speeds.

Taiwan has cycle paths in Taipei and many scenic areas, but don't even try riding on their city roads. The reckless attitude of drivers in Taiwan makes it absolutely unsafe to ride in the city. I hardly see any cyclists in the city. Stick to public transportation. Taipei's MRT system is quite efficient and is quite a bit less crowded and alot more frequent than Singapore's in the evening peak hour.

City buses are often confusing. You board the bus from the front for some companies' buses, and from the back for others. However, intercity bus networks are quite extensive.


Pkchukiss said...

90 minutes is blinding fast. It took me almost 7 whole hours to get from Kaohsiung to Taipei on the tour bus. Absolutely butt-busting, but at that time the high speed rail was under development, so it's either the road, or the air.

kc said...

not to mention, the rural highways are rough and dangerous. the roads there are simply scary