Life on the Buses 2018

Having the swipe machine at the back door too is really convenient, especially when teh bus is crowded or you have many packages and need to get off the back. It was a clever thing to do.

BTW, all buses have cameras back, front and I think sideways! In and out.

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Nah, I get called out when I don’t pay and turns out you have to pay when you get on. I used to think I can just always pay when I get off until I met such drivers.

True. I hope they can also do it for the coin box although it’s a bit bulky. It kinda sucks to go all the way to the front when there’s too many passengers.

I’ve had bus drivers do the same. That’s mostly from keeping some people to pay a single fare ticket for “long haul” routes.

Some bus routes are reaaaally long like the 307 that goes from Banqiao Station all the way to east Song Shan. There’s also the 266/288 bus that goes from Beitou hot spring park to Taipei Medical University Hospital just south of 101. Paying 15NT for that distance is a steal and bus companies know that. So, that’s probably one of the reasons why they developed the pay when entering or exting system.

I have to start tracking the number of times I get on/off one of the buses from Taipei to Yilan and there’s someone roughly 160 years old who jumps in front of everyone else at the line to get on/off and then proceeds to slowly limp in/out for 20 minutes while everyone else is waiting.

You missed a key part of the story! That’s when they wave wildly at the bus, with a big grin, while being around 30 meters away from the actual bus stop, calling on the driving to wait to pick then up as if they are on a country road and this is the only bus available all day.


The electronic display at bus stops is not always reliable. There have been a few times when I was misled by misinformation (telling me that my bus wouldn’t arrive for 10 minutes or more) and then one arrived a minute later (just when I decided to hail a cab). Apparently, some bus drivers forget to turn on the onboard device that sends out signals to the bus stops.

Newly designed buses with big spaces between seats

  • with seats as thin as plastic with
  • seating area only large enough for the butt bone. And the
  • back of the seat is only tall enough for children
  • A pipe for an armrest
  • No handles for riders without hitting passengers in the neck to hold on.
  • aisle space too big giving up space for seats width.

Let’s take the most important part of the bus which is people that pay to ride and forget about them.

Every time I get on I think this must have been designed by an engineer without any concern for Ergonomics or human factors or talking to potential riders.


Well thought out sign installation. Just grab whatever we have whatever fits and slam in there with a couple screws.


Plastic ties will hold it 20180319_191452

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Seriously Taiwanese city buses are soooo ghetto. You don’t notice it after a while, but then you go to Europe or the US and ride a professionally made bus from Mercedes or something and it’s night and day.

I suspect they have a protected domestic bus industry here which does not have to compete with the international bus makers and therefore can spew out whatever crap they want–can anyone confirm this?

Okay so somebody clear it up. The buses are not government-owned right? There are different bus companies and they’re free to put out any bus they want?

What’s wrong with those buses, though (in the features mentioned)? You can sit, you can pay, you can ring the bell to get off. I’m not looking for a luxury experience, just reliable transportation. And the fares are much, MUCH more reasonable than any city bus in the US. I’d rather have to look at some plastic ties than pay US $2.50 (NT$75) for a basic bus fare for a short trip.

Youse guys are spoiled. You probably expect every bus to have air conditioning. (Damn, can’t find the old guy shaking his cane emoticon…)


Go take a bus in Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam and then tell me how “ghetto” the buses are in Taiwan.

Spoilt is right.

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Well, at least gone are the days when buses were moving igloos.

You are right. I was so disappointed with Vancouver because the bus system sucked enormously. The metro was scary. Both expensive as hell.

US is unbelievable bad. Such big cities, such sucky and expensive or nonexistent systems for public transport. Heck, even Washington DC’s metro is traumatic.

Luv Taipei metro. Adore the buses. I dread going to the old country and trying to catch deadly chicken buses where safety is never guaranteed, either from the driving or the violence/delinquency.

But that’s why I don’t live in Thailand, Cambodia, or Vietnam! Taiwan should (and does) compare itself to Japan, SK, the US, and Europe. In many ways this little country manages to exceed a lot about those places… and public transit is one of those areas.

BUT, city buses are an outlier within the transit space. Compared to MRT, HSR, and even TRA, they have many issues:

  1. Produced by some sketchy, protected domestic producers (it seems–would be good if anyone has inside info)
  2. Always freezing, even in winter
  3. Horrible fluorescent lighting
  4. Jerky gear shifting (don’t know if it’s the driver’s fault, terrible hardware, or both)
  5. Route system is duplicative, wasteful, and needlessly sprawling: how often do you see empty buses on the road? This kind of issue plagues many bus systems around the world and it is often driven by drivers’ unions whose incentive is to maximize their work hours and membership, not provide an efficient transit system for city residents. Even Ke P recently said the bus system desperately needs a restructure–I wish him luck against those drivers.

@ironlady I also disagree with the idea that Taiwanese cities cannot provide better bus service for the same NT$15 fare. They certainly can. Just restructure all the duplicative routes and use the savings to buy better buses from any of the many companies that build good buses. Some drivers will be out of work, but this is a taxpayer-funded service, not a work program. Also, turn off the AC in the winter. Done!

You all need to dream a little and not just accept the fluorescent status quo for what it is.

Are buses in US such good? If I remember them correctly, they are not much different from taiwanese buses.

going back a while in Thailand, they had blue buses which were 2 Baht and red buses which were 3 baht, after a while I asked “it seems these buses are identical, except one is red and the other is blue why the price difference?” The answer, the red buses were originally going to have air conditioning, but they never put them in.

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I think I’m out of sync here. I think the bus system is amazingly good all-around Taiwan, you can go almost anywhere. I’m just confused with the difference between the quality bus system and the odd irregularities on some of the buses.

I remember way back when I first arrived that some buses did NOT even have air conditioning, in which case they offered a cheaper fare rate by a few :2cents: and windows were kept down.

How about inter-city buses in Taiwan. They’re awesome.
Ever taken a Greyhound between cities in the U.S. Your best bet for safety is to sit near the bus driver, ha ha.

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