MASS BENEFIT? Only about 10 percent of the 2 million daily MRT users would benefit from the unlimited ride program, which is to cost NT$940 million in subsidies
By Huang Chien-hao and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporters, with staff writer
The Taipei Department of Transportation yesterday estimated that 236,000 cards will be registered for an all-in-one transportation pass rolled out by the Taipei and New Taipei City governments on Tuesday that allows unlimited rides on the MRT metropolitan rail line and buses in the two cities, as well as free 30-minute YouBike rides, for NT$1,280 （US$43.75） per month.
The monthly pass does not require users to buy a new card, as they can register their existing EasyCards, including cobranded cards, Taipei Rapid Transit Corp said.
Registration is available at value-adding machines in MRT stations, and the monthly pass option — found in the upper right corner of the display — should be selected before a card is placed on the reader, it said.
MRT station personnel can also provide assistance, it added.
The monthly pass should be activated within 30 days after April 16, the company said, adding that it is valid for 30 days after activation.
EasyCard Corp said that as the value of a monthly pass is relatively high, it recommends that users register their cards with a legal identification document （ID） in case of loss or theft, adding that users who report the loss of a registered EasyCard with a monthly pass would receive NT$42 for each remaining day.
EasyCard holders are encouraged to report card theft or loss, which would result in the card being locked down after a three-hour processing period, it said.
While the cardholder would shoulder losses incurred during that period, users would receive a full refund on the remaining value of a lost card, it added.
Lost or stolen cards can be reported at MRT customer service kiosks, EasyCard Corp said.
However, registration with an ID — which requires a registered card number, a cellphone number, a national ID and another form of photo ID — is currently only available for Internet users.
Only 22 million, or less than 30 percent, of the 74 million EasyCards in circulation are registered with ID, while more than half of registered cards are cobranded or student cards.
Of the 2 million people who use the MRT each day, about 236,000 people, or 10 percent, would benefit from the monthly pass or an equivalent offering, Taipei Department of Transportation official Wang Yin-chu （王湮筑） said, citing data derived from current card users.
The implementation of the common monthly pass would cost Taipei and New Taipei City a total of NT$940 million in municipal subsidies, Wang said.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, center right, and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu, center left, hold up a poster at a news conference in Taipei on Monday. Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times