Tour bus flips over on highway no.5


Here are my five cents.

I have been on buses of that company, three times if I remember correctly, two times to Yilan and from there the Mingchi and Fushan (transferring to smaller buses for the mountain roads).

I think Wuling Farm is too far for a day trip from Taipei and the road is quite curvy once you leave the river valley. Also quite a few cabbage trucks on that road so you have to be very alert. So I would not have gone on that kind of trip, because you sit in the bus for most of the time and only spend a few hours at the destination.

Having said that, the drivers don’t actually drive all day long. I guess, it’s 3-4 hours to the farm from Taipei. Once there the driver can rest for 2-3 hours while the passengers visit the farm. On the way back, they most likely made a longer stop in Yilan for dinner or buying local produce (that’s how the company makes some extra cash). I think there is enough time for the driver to get rest, provided he uses that time wisely.

The tours that were offered by that company were very cheap and they offered different trips to all kinds of locations every day. Quite well known among locals, especially retired people without their own means of transport, who like to travel in Taiwan.

Based on the prices they offered, it does not surprise me that the salary of the drivers were low and the buses were not in the best of conditions. The scope of the operation kind of convinced me that they had a certain safety standard in place.

I would put the accident under the category Accidents Happen (especially if law enforcement is not strict). You can always improve safety, but you’ll never prevent human error.

A few things that definitely should change is enforcing existing laws, and if the laws are impractical, make them better. Everyone is talking about automatic driving these days. Why not first equip all buses with technology that can aid drivers (warning signals when she falls asleep, when speeding, when getting close to the side of the road, when keeping too-low distance to the vehicles in front…) There is so much room for improvement.

One thing that always freaks me out is that so many car drivers forget to switch on their head lights when it gets dark. Every car maker should be forced to put a warning signal into each car that reminds a driver to switch on the lights, or it should be switched on automatically.


Owner has 21 buses, 3 of thosefound under his brother’s name, who knows what else. Strained for cash he ain’t.

Rest time ain’t rst time. The drivers are subject to regulations where they cannot leave the vehicle -practically tied down to teh wheel. No espace to nap in teh back. Buses coming in and out, shouting in parking lots, passengers forgetting stuff or getting water/snacks. The driver simply cannot rest.

They did show a tacometer like thinghy, which revealed something intersting, aside from the fact that the driver at least drove 11 hours straight. The last section of the trip, there are huge variations in speed, he acelerates and dessacelerates. Other drivers especulated whether this means he was already too tired and not that attentive/reactive at the wheel.

The drivers were also telling the ways they make themselves stay awake. They look straight at the highway lights or drive over the speed bumps so that keeps them awake. It is their SOP.

More than human error, it is human greed, greedy bosses pushing beyond the humanly possible, p[eople desperate for keeping jobs. Only way to rest is to quit. No means to retire, no unemployment benefits, families to feed and clothe and overpriced mortages to pay.

Seatbelts for buses in Taiwan are mandatory in the front, next to emergency exits, etc. The news had great footage from other accidents with birds’ eye view of what happens when a bus crashes and everyone is thrown around inside.

I wear my seatbelt in buses in Japan. I have survided several crashes in teh ol country thanks to those, wil wear them when available, I love my face and have invested a lot in my beautiful smile and straight teeth, wanna keep em.


Have you ever been on these trips? Based on my experience you are exaggerating a bit. The drivers I happened to have didn’t seem to be overly exhausted, and no, they were not forced to stay in the bus to allow passengers to board at any time. I remember the driver having the doors shut until it was time to leave, with us having to wait outside.

I am sure there are a lot of things going wrong in these enterprises, but based on my experience the situation was not as horrible as the media is now trying to paint it.


These testimonials come from the drivers and travel guides themselves. I have ex roomamtes and acuqintances in the industry and they say with due exceptions, the situation IS as dire as portraited, and has been like that for many years. I also know from a friend’s hubby who is a city bus driver -and his pals- that city drivers have it really tough, so it is expected that tour driving is even worse.

My experience has been mostly positive because I have taken short term trips -I am not in the mood/health for those Death Marches- and if I travel far, I usually take trains or planes, rarely bus it all the way there.

Even when the bus is locked -and there is a reason for that, to try to insure the driver is rested- the ambiance noise and teh lack of space to lie down makes it very difficult for them to rest. They lie prone at 45 degrees in the bus.

In teh case of teh driver, he had been going up and down Wuling Farm for 3 consecutive days. Sure, anyoen can undertake that 14 hour drive… then rest. Th epoint here is that he was doing this stright without resting. 18 days of long haul drives, last 3 with one of the most challenging in terms of terrain. That is the breaking point. And there are records of it.


Apparently yes.

They won’t admit they have many problems and always try to cover everything up rather than attempting to correct it. Greed and corruption in the labor laws go unchecked. And the guanxi between the local governments and the businesses make sure nothing can get fixed if anyone tried to change it.


Seats belts would not have helped much in an accident like this one where the bus flips it’s passengers against a side of a mountain, which then crushes the entire roof.

The bus industry should be forced to mandate rest days and hours behind the wheel like the aviation industry has.

Tired drivers make mistakes. He was going too fast for the turn and messed up…BIG TIME.

This happens more when one is dog tired.

Even with regs in place there can still be accidents, like with the Ci crew who were tired and messed up a Go Around at CKS. But there should be less accidents if at least drivers and pilots are not exhausted.

Also there needs to be more education. Bus drivers should have to attend professional drivers school (as should truck drivers).

And one last thing. The high center of gravity double decker buses used ? There should be a rethink about this.
HIgh center means unstable and you saw the video clip of that bus on the freeway I put here.


You think working 16 days straight as a bus driver on mountains roads and no monitoring of driving time wasn’t an accident waiting to happen?

As icon mentioned tiredness builds up overtime. Then it catches up with you. Bad enough when a car driver but a bus driver…this just playing with many people’s lives.

They also weren’t paying overtime and laobao as required by law.

They surely broke multiple regulations.


No, I just think that the media always tries to find the most outrageous scenario possible. I am not inclined to believe all the claims that come out after an accident like that. Maybe the allegations are all true and the company treated drivers very bad. But I wouldn’t take everything at face value.

For example, how do you drive 11 hours straight, in Taiwan, like Icon says above. It does not make sense to me. You could drive for 11 hours straight to get from Taipei to Wuling and then back to Taipei immediately, but who would go on that trip?


42 to 30 people at least every day. Tours won’t leave with less people. Check newspaper ads. This time of the year, one day tours to Wuling Farm, the peach place, anywhere with flowers or snow or both.

The bus records show 11 hours driving. Up and down, so two sets.

The bus company owner was driving himself a company bus the next day after the acident. Caught on tape, taking a few zzzz parked on a red line. Couldn’t let go of that money, anyways, insurance would take care of it, right?


i agree for the seatbelts but that driver was way over the speed limit, which is also normal behaviour here. which shows that being tired made it harder for him to drive safely (while driving faster than the speed limit) it didn’t cause him to drive faster in the first place.


The guy has to be back in Taipei at a certian hour, rain or shine. After delivering every single passenger -even if that means going all the way to Keelung, and I do not mean Keelung road- they have to take the bus back to the deposit, AND prep it for the next day. THEN they can drive home.

Hence, the incentive to speed.


They could at least switch drivers. Maybe have one driver drive up, rest the night. Use a different driver for the trip back home. And continue in this way.


this logic shows that speeding is acceptable in this country. speeding, driving tired and dangerously while endangering others lives are all acceptable… until you kill 30 people that is.


Or more. As Tommy mentioned, tiredness has been a factor in many accidents of what used to be China Scarelines… until they sort of cleaned up their act.

If you have a look at industries all over the spectrum in Taiwan, most workers are simply stretched beyond healthy limits. Doctors, for starters, I have given you examples I have seen, seeing patients non stop from 1pm to 1am. Ask any doctor, see data from the Medical Alliance.

See the schedules of TRA workers. Airlines, from ground staff, mechanics, pilots and attendants, follow schedules that are illegal for most other airlines abroad.

It is easy to get on a high horse and scream that locals are barbarians because they drive like idiots, and feel smug in some foreign superiority. The problem is deeper than that, it is not a whim to drive like that. Someone works 16 hours at an office and takes the wheel to go home, others are flipping tangbing at a night market nonstop for 6 to 8 hours and take a scooter home, when their paths cross, a tragedy is bound to happen.


its got nothing to do with being a smug foriegner. its common sense that if you don’t enforce any rules on the road, drive dangerously and speed as the norm then people are going to get killed. and of course the overworking and fatigue is a big part of it, i never said it wasn’t. i just don’t think this is the only cause here and shouldn’t be the only part that is focused on.


He might have driven 11 hours that day, but you wrote “straight,” which would mean “without a break,” right? That would not make any sense to me.

I won’t argue that the conditions aren’t bad compared to like Europe. Just think that media reports tend to be overly dramatic for the obvious reason of trying to get more people to watch their news.

I find this outrage AFTER something bad happens typical. It’s so common here. Things are often neglected as long as there is no tragic accident. Maybe we should all start becoming snitches telling the authorities about every rule break we come across?

Last time I bumped my head into a metal bar at the back entrance of a bus I often take. The bar was unusually low. I sent an e-mail to the bus company, told them the bus route and plate number of the bus. A few weeks later the bar was fixed, with duct tape and a screw, but still. I’d encourage anyone who has complains about somethingto get active and at least complain about it to people that are in charge.


I think that Hannes made a point, and I totally agree with him. Media here (as elsewhere… but here even more) sucks: it’s sensationalist, but they don’t bother to denounce or investigate the country’s problems, until somebody dies already.

As per your discussion, it seems that people now are complaining a lot about the accident. But, when did you hear last time a Taiwanese criticize the crappy and selfish road habits in Taiwan? May be they think that what they see is “normal”, or even more, “good”. Of course, may be our standards are higher than many other countries’, but it’s already year 2017 for God’s sake. People have money for buying cars (and Taiwan or perhaps it’s better to say Taipei, can not take one more car, really), but people lack the education, common sense, and civil sense to drive one.

So… yeah, there were many things off that led to this accident. But the press is sensationalist. And the press is not doing its job investigating and denouncing the problems before things like this happen.


Nope, locals have whole YouTube and PTT groups dedicated to the carnage on the streets.

Th epress is sensasionalist but if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t even know about who was the boss of the agency.


Tour operators must stop offering such tours or face fines of between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000.

In addition, domestic tours that leave early in the morning and return late at night must have two drivers taking turns, Chang said, adding that should operators have trouble meeting that stipulation, they must change tour itineraries or have travelers use public transport systems.

If the bus is the only means of transportation during a tour, drivers may not drive more than 300km per day on ordinary roads and 200km per day in mountainous areas, he said.

Should the trip involve both ordinary and mountain roads, the driving distance would be limited to 200km per day, he said.

Other agreements reached at the meeting include a complete ban on the so-called “zero-fee” tours, in which tour operators are compensated by collecting commission from shop owners that travel groups visit, he said.

I guess @jotham will be horrified. Aren’t people glad to take whatever tours they can get, since this is a developing country with no wealth to speak of? :trollface:


I never heard Taiwanese criticising road manners here. never. If you say that some of them do on Youtube, I guess that some of them do it., but they’re a minority. Yes, there are road accident videos, but that’s a consequence of having dashcams, not a sign of self criticism…

And the media could investigate and denounce more (like a couple of years ago… was it the gutter oil thing?) instead of dramatizing things like this accident.