Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year.
A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare, he said, criticizing the Taipei City Government for doing nothing to improve the situation.
Photo: Tsai Si-pei, Taipei Times
The most common breach of regulations is eating or drinking inside a station (2,685 cases), followed by using an incorrect ticketing procedure when entering or exiting a station (481 cases) and solicitation (470 cases), Wang said, citing Taipei Rapid Transit Corp statistics from 2015 to last year.
Of these, the number of cases of incorrect ticketing procedure have increased more than 13-fold over the past five years, he said.
Ximen Station had the most cases with 36, followed by Longshan Temple Station with 34, Tamsui Station with 24, Zhongxiao Fuxing Station with 17, Far Eastern Hospital Station with 14, Beitou and Fuzhong stations with 13, and Dingxi and Xinpu stations with 12, with most offenses occurring on the Blue Line, the statistics showed.
Of the 481 cases of fare evasion, more than 20 percent (103 cases) were committed by 43 repeat offenders, one of whom was caught five times, the data showed.
Vulnerabilities in the ticketing system have existed for many years, but cash-strapped Taipei Rapid Transit Corp has remained indifferent, Wang said, questioning how many more fare evaders are going undetected.
Wang said that the issue is not tied to a lack of personnel, as Ximen Station has become a fare evader’s paradise, despite being smaller than Taipei Main Station.
Taipei Rapid Transit Corp vowed to propose an improvement plan within a week.
It has already been dispatching extra security personnel to stations with the most breaches of regulations, the firm said, adding that attendants have been instructed to check a passenger’s ticket when a gate alarm sounds.
The Mass Rapid Transit Act (大眾捷運法) states that those found guilty of fare evasion, in addition to having to pay the original fare, must also pay an additional fine of up to 50 times the original fare or NT$4,500.
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