How's the public transportation outside of Taipei?

I’ve heard it’s great in Taipei, but how is it other places? I’m especially wondering about the public transportation in Hsinchu, Taichung, and Kaohsiung.

Mostly I’m just wondering if I’ll be able to get around alright without a car or scooter or relying on taxis.

There’s nothing like the MRT outside Taipei. You are likely to need a scooter in those other cities. However the taiwanese and a lot of long-term foreigners (who prove laziness is contagious) will tell you that you need a scooter if you have a ten minute walk to work.

[quote=“Matchstick_man”]However the Taiwanese and a lot of long-term foreigners (who prove laziness is contagious) will tell you that you need a scooter if you have a ten minute walk to work.[/quote]Heheh. Being from LA, I’m sure CaliBorn will feel it normal to use a vehicle anytime he leaves the house…

Yeah, outside of Taipei the public transport is very sparse and sporadic. OK if you just happen to live and work on the same bus route, or both are near a local railway station, and you have lots of time to spare. Otherwise you need to either have the budget for lots of taxi rides, or get your own wheels and add to the pollution.

I live in Taichung . Last year a functioning public bus system began to service the major parts of the city.
If you want to live in Taichung you have to provide your own transportation. I drive a tank just because I don’t appreciate those trips to the hospital after the unavoidable hit and runs that are so common here.
It really wasn’t that bad once I learned the unique traffic rules.


I’ve lived in Los Angeles almost all of my life. I have a car, but I do take public transportation when the routes suit my destinations. I lived in San Francisco for a time and naturally thought the public transportation was great. But people from New York tended to think the public transportation in SF was terrible. I was able to get around in SF fine without a car, so that was a big deal for me.

So, now my question is, is the MRT in Taipei worth the higher cost of living there? I don’t mind walking, so maybe it wouldn’t be worth it to me. On the other hand, time is like money. But walking is good exercise, and I heard there are perks to teaching English outside of Taipei. And perks are like money.

[quote=“CaliBorn”]
So, now my question is, is the MRT in Taipei worth the higher cost of living there? I don’t mind walking, so maybe it wouldn’t be worth it to me. On the other hand, time is like money. But walking is good exercise, and I heard there are perks to teaching English outside of Taipei. And perks are like money.[/quote]Well, I would have thought you’d go live where the work was…

Anyway, walking around isn’t really an option in many other cities except for Taipei, since there aren’t any sidewalks worthy of the name. You end up walking in the road most of the time and trying avoid being mown down by cars, scooters and crazed schoolkids on bicycles. Oh, and it rains a lot in Taipei which for me spoils much of the fun in walking. Much of what is great about living outside of Taipei is being able to escape the ugly cities and get into the countryside. There’s an appalling lack of public transport in most cities, and next to nothing in the countryside. You might get away with some mix of buses or local trains for your commute, taxis for getting home from bars etc. and renting cars or scooters for weekend jaunts. OTOH, owning a scooter would solve all those problems, which is probably the reason for every man, woman and child in Taiwan owning at least one of the damn things.

With the MRT you can live outside the city in Xindian, Banqiao, Yonghe, and up toward danshui where the rents are lower than in Taipei City and comparable to what you would pay in Taizhong and other places.

If you live in the southern, northern or eastern parts of the city (Mucha, Beitou/Yangmingshan, Neihu) you are usually only a short ride or even walk from the mountains. Living in Mucha I can be in the mountains on a quiet trail in 10 minutes or downtown Taipei in 20 minutes. Best of both worlds.

I live in Hsin-chu. If you live anywhere near the train station, within a ten minute walk, you will not be far from anything you need. The night market, city markets and shopping malls are all within this area. There are free shuttle services from FE21 and WINDANCE that run through this area also. The local bus service is not too bad. The city buses have maps on the backs of the signs. You can get to a number of outlying area by city bus, including the fishing port or Chunan. You really will not not need a scooter to live here. Taxi service is also plentiful and not bad.

Rents are pretty cheap here, although I live in a 2 bedroom supply by my employer. The food is great and the city is not overly dirty.

There are plenty of schools here and I see job openings all the time. A lot of them offer perks. I like it here and it’s an easy train ride to Taipei and many other nice places.

There are many other things that make Taipei worth the higher cost of living, and in fact, it doesn’t cost much to live here.

Brian

Yeah, I guess public transportation is all dependant on where you live. Taipei has probably the best public transportation I’ve ever seen…but, I’m from America, so any form of readily availabel public transport impresses me. I think you won’t have much problem with finding busses outside of Taipei, but more of a problem with using them. Most of the bus schedules and whatnot are all in Chinese. I live in TaoYuan, and it seems that they have an excellent bus service, but I pretty much abstain from using them because I’m not too sure where they all go, or the rules for using them (do I pay when I get on this bus, or when I get off…do I have to tell the driver where I’m going and keep the little ticket thingy?). On the other hand, I just visited Hualien, and I don’t recall seeing any busses there…so I guess it’s kind of give or take. I bought a bike for $200NT, and that serves me well enough.

I’m not from the USA but American public tansport impressed me. Try living in New Zealand and moving to anywhere in Taiwan and you can’t help but be impressed by the public transport system even outside the main centres . More than two trains going somewhere on the same day!!!Wow.

The bus ticketing system is confusing. Especially wehn you’re supposed to give your ticket back. I used to put my ticket in my pocket and lose it when the bus driver wanted it back.

I’m really sorry some of you have not tried the bus service. It really is great and can be a lot of fun.

Yes, the maps are written in Chinese, but we do live in Taiwan after all. Yes, they want your ticket when you get off the bus, and yes you pay as you get on.

The buses can take you to a lot of places the trains don’t go. And, the people you meet on the bus are for the most part quite nice. It’s not really that hard if your willing to take a chance. I’ll admit I didn’t go exactly where I wanted to go on more then one occasion, but that’s the way you learn.

Hsin-chu is a great city. I would recommend living here.

that’s not entirely true. 1/3rd of the busses I take require me to pay when I get on and have a fixed rate. Another third reuire payment when I get off, and the rate changes depending on how far I go. And The last third require me to tell the driver where I am going, and pay for the appropriate ticket, and give the ticket back when I get off (example: I get on the bus in Taipei, which goes to TaoYuan, but I want to get off at the LinKou Chang Gung Hospital…I have to tell the driver I am only going to LinKou, pay $30 instead of the $60 it costs to get to TaoYuan, and then give him the ticket when I get off.

All of this can be confusing and intimidating for someone, like me, who doesnt speak much of the language. I agree that practice makes perfect, but who wants to stand in the front of the bus for 10minutes trying to figure out how much you owe, while everyone else on the bus is trying to get home?

[quote=“Amy”]
Hsin-Chu (Xinzhu) is a great city.[/quote]

Which Hsinchu do you live in? :slight_smile:

There are lots of busses in the cities around Taipei.

  1. The bus system in the other parts of Taiwan is not that splendid, except for a few big cities perhaps; kaohsiung, Taizhong, …
  2. A taxi can take you anywhere. Rates vary from 70 NT dollar on in Taipei, 90 in Hsinchu and …
  3. Taking the train might be another option; it will get you anywhere.
    In fact, there are a number of interesting train stations, worth to have a look at.
  4. And otherwise, you just take the airplane from one city to the other city.
  5. A boat …