🚆 Taiwan Railway | Standing Ticket without Get Informed First

Dear forum, apologize

We would like to share a little not pleasant experiences.

We just went back for our 3-4 hours standing ticket from Tainan to Taipei. We just got our seat when we arrived at Zhongli. We actually never ordered the standing ticket, and if we ever do, at least we truly respect if that’s the only available option but we got informed first. We bought that through ticket counter with the officer served us.

We regret we not choosing bus to travel where we guaranteed to get a seat the moment we realized, we will got our seat just like 30 minutes before arrived. Ironically, we found some similar passengers experiencing what we experienced at the same moment.

I wonder why this is something that common if using train (not local train). Shouldn’t we get informed first before we agreed to get a standing ticket for almost 4 hours (or even more if there’s somebody from Pingtung to Taipei), or we actually already agreed but we just don’t know that when we bought the ticket? Or there’s another reason why it’s common for a certain people (cause ironically the other passengers who got exactly like us, not come from here too).

For some people, maybe it’s felt like a normal. We talked to them and they just said “It is what is it dude.”, when the other passengers come and go and changed the seat frequently while we still standing there.

I just wonder should we get any either discounts for standing (because we paid the same exactly price as those who get a seat from the beginning), or, it just it is what it is here, for people like us?

We truly sorry for posting this. Beside our numbs on our knees and legs, a little dizzy and about to vomit, we just felt what we experienced, is a little unfair, especially if we paid for the same price.

I wonder it’s only us, or again, it’s something that normalized either for efficiency, or for other reasons that we not informed first.

What we glad is, my friend, not come with his wife and kids. We glad this unpleasant experiences, we experienced it without them.

Thank you forum.

You mentioned that you didn’t order a standing ticket. But when you get the tickets, there should be seat numbers.


I do prefer buses. Better entertainment and guaranteed seat.

Some don’t like buses because they drive it like they drive scooters, and so safety is an issue. Then there’s traffic jams especially around Linkou.

So if you are in a hurry, skip the bus, take the HSR.

Usually, standing tickets (or tickets in the unreserved area which means it could be a standing ticket) would be the last resort for people requiring to go on a train that’s fully booked. Most travelers will reserve a ticket as much in advance as possible to avoid this situation. Trains on weekends on holidays are usually fully booked.

Maybe the clerk thought he did you a service by allowing you to board the train you wanted even though all seats were already booked.

So no, those standing tickets are not meant to rip off foreigners (I feel that’s your impression about them right now), but mostly to help out people who otherwise would get stuck at a train station.

They should have made clear to you, though, that you’re buying a (potential) standing ticket in the unreserved area. In that case, many people would probably ask about a later train and potentially wait a bit for the next one. It could be, though, that there won’t be one anytime soon and the unreserved area is your only way to your destination.


You really have to look at the ticket carefully. If there’s no seat assignment on it, it’s a standing ticket, they’re also a fair bit cheaper than seat reservations.

They are going to get you on the next available train, it’s just how it is. If you must have a seat reservation tell the ticket agent that, so they can get you on a later train.

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was it a standing room only ticket, or a non reserved seat ticket?

Not true. You are likely to get seats. But they fill up too. Especially on holiday weekends.

There’s no difference. Non reserved seat ticket is a standing room only ticket. If there’s no seat assignment printed on the ticket, it’s a non reserved seat ticket.

Buses do not allow standing at all. If there is no seat, they will not sell you a ticket. So you will be seated if taking a bus. (by this I mean inter city coach, not city buses).

not true. several cars are assigned for passengers with non reserved seat tickets 自由座票, and you get a seat if there remains any.

standing only ticket 無座票 is with no seat.

if you buy a ticket at a station counter for a specific train that will depart soon or fully booked, they might assume you are wanting a non reserved seat ticket.

Right. So you are still not guaranteed a seat.

Yes, the ticket is very clear about this. I think it states “no seat” in English as well. It’s sounds like a communication problem.

Pro tip: Go to the front or rear of the train and try to get on at the starting point (for example, if it’s a train from Taipei to Hualien, try to figure out where the train starts (Songshan, Nangang, or Taipei Train Station), and get on the train there. There should be plenty of room to sit on the floor. Get your spot on the floor (ideally on the side away from where the people will be embarking) and you’ll be fairly comfortable.

I guess the difference is that with a 無座票 you have to yield your seat to a person with a 自由座票 in a car with 自由座 seats. But I doubt anyone will ask you to show your ticket in those cars if you occupy a seat.

Can’t image you are forced to stand all the way with a 無座票 if there are seats available.

If they run out of reserved seating, then they will sell you non-reserved ticket which doesn’t have a seat number. You need to line up at the non-reserved car section of the platform, and it’s first-come, first-serve. If there are no open seats left, then you will be standing.

If there are no more non-reserved tickets left, then they will sell you a standing ticket.

Maybe they didn’t tell you this because they assumed you wanted the earliest train which is already sold out.

Or maybe they explained to you but you misheard or misunderstood.

Or maybe they are just racist and assumed you wouldn’t understand them, so they didn’t bother explaining to you. You never know.

My experience with trains is very different from this. Right now, only the Tze Chiang Train, local trains, Fu Hsing train, and maybe others allow standing tickets (in other words, Puyuma and Taroko no longer sell standing tickets).

When they sell all the seats in the trains listed above, you can go to a ticket window and buy standing tickets. You can do this anytime. Days in advance or a few minutes before the train departs.

With your standing ticket in hand, you just show up before the train departs, get on whichever car you desire, and stand somewhere within your chosen car, get a seat if there’s one open (but the owner of that seat will show up some time unless you’re very lucky), or you go to the area between cars and stand or sit.

Your experience with trains is exactly as I described. Except you left out the part about 自由座 (free-seating) tickets.

So what that means is, you have the right to a non-reserved seat, but some egghole with a standing ticket is occupying it, knowing that no one with a non-reserved ticket will ask him/her to show the ticket and demand to yield the seat.

Bottom line: be at the train early.

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It’s this that I take issue with:

I have never seen any non-reserved car section of the platform. As a matter of fact, I choose very carefully which car I’m going to get on to try to optimize my chance of a place on the floor (between two cars).

For this specific part, I might have gotten mixed up with the HSR.


Now I am wondering, are we talking about HSR or TRA here? I was assuming the TRA trains have non-reserved seats too, nowadays. Can’t recall ever seeing those cars to be honest. The HSR sure has them.

I have made an art of doing this to ensure a place on the floor so yes, that got my attention. I’m going between Hualien and Taipei often and those tickets sell out so damn fast every weekend and especially if there’s any holiday. I have had to learn the system inside and out.