Nov 29, 2017 Politics Comments Off on Kaohsiung offers free public transportation to boost air quality
Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan will offer free public transportation services between Dec. 1, 2017, and Feb. 28, 2018, as part of efforts to boost air quality.
Under the plan, holders of e-tickets such as the I-Pass can travel for free at any time on city and highway buses and light-rail trains. They can also use the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system at no cost from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays.
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu said Nov. 28 that combating air pollution is a top priority for the local government given the concentration of heavy manufacturing sectors in the southern Taiwan metropolis.
Other factors such as location and topography make the region especially susceptible to the accumulation of industrial pollutants during winter, she said, citing an analysis by the Cabinet-level Environmental Protection Administration stating that the sources of air pollutants in the city are evenly attributable to offshore sources, local emissions and those from neighboring municipalities.
According to Chen, the free public transportation initiative is part of a comprehensive campaign to strengthen air quality through the reduction of pollutants such as fine particulate matter (PM 2.5). Related measures also include fast-tracking industrial upgrading, imposing stricter regulations, phasing out two-stroke motorcycles and setting clear emissions targets.
Another prime example of the city's commitment to raising air quality was the EcoMobility World Festival organized by the local government in October, Chen said. Gasoline-powered vehicles were prohibited from the venue throughout the monthlong event, with emissions in the area found to be nearly 25 percent lower than usual after the festival wrapped up Oct. 31.
Such carbon-reduction efforts are paying off, as evidenced by EPA statistics showing that Kaohsiung led all Taiwan cities between 2013 and 2016 in lowering PM 2.5 emissions, Chen said.
The city government urged residents to take advantage of the free services so as to reduce traffic and strengthen environmental protection. Official statistics show Kaohsiung's public transportation system recorded ridership of 120 million trips in 2016, up 375 percent from 2007.
Source: Taiwan Today
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