Using an ARC/APRC on Taiwan Railways

So during this CNY holiday I’ve had a lot of time on trains to think about TRA’s booking system. As you all have probably experienced, although it’s possible to buy a normal train ticket with your ARC at 7-11 or at the ticket counter itself, all modern methods of internet booking are closed to us.

TRA’s app and website both flatly refuse to accept ARC numbers, outputting a “format error” message when these are used to try to book tickets. It is possible to use a passport number to book tickets online, but that results in needing to go to the ticket counter at the station to get them, which isn’t much better than just going there in the first place. This also isn’t available on the app at all- foreigners simply can’t use the app to book anything, even though English service is provided.

All of this contrasts sharply with the HSR, which accepts ARC numbers seamlessly and without any problems.

This is a form of discrimination, right? Has anyone tried sending in a complaint to the MoI about this? I mean, we’re being blocked from using our legitimate government-issued ID.


I’ve used my ARC number to purchase the tickets on the app before and used the QR code ticket


How? The app just tells me my ID is the wrong format.

I’ve read posts discussing the problem before, both on here and Facebook I believe, but I don’t remember anyone saying they’d actually filed a complaint. I think I even read the transport/railway-related laws at one point to see if there was anything in there about fair treatment of customers (I couldn’t find anything).

Maybe just file an MOI complaint as you said? It’ll probably be useless, as the other complaints have been, but at least it draws some attention to the problem and makes them respond. The more complaints the better, IMO.

For me, I don’t use TRA enough to have noticed, and the few times I do use it I’ve just used my EasyCard or collected the tickets from a convenience store.

Yeah, maybe we should confirm that there’s definitely a problem first? Like I said, I’m not a big user of TRA, but I’ve definitely booked tickets online and collected them from a convenience store in the past.

I don’t remember whether I did it using my ARC number or my passport number, but I have done it. Maybe others can chime in.

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I didn’t do anything noteworthy

I used the TRA app to book 2 round trip tickets to Kaohsiung so far, never had an issue. Last year, I just simply used my US passport number to visit a friend in Taichung, but booked from their website since I didn’t really want to install an app. If I remember correctly, I think you have to select the ID type first instead of directly entering your ARC# with it in ID mode.

I have used TRA website quite a few times. Not sure if I used my passport or ARC number but it’s definitely doable.

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I did this 6 months ago, got a confirmation but no official response.

Didn’t you chase it up via the website? They’re supposed to reach a decision within 3 months and then respond.

Your response lead me to dig around in my email and, to my surprise, I did have a response that got buried. It’s bullshit:


So the response to me saying “it’s discrimination to allow only Taiwanese people to sign up for a membership but not foreigners” is:


I know! I’m very aware! That’s what I’m submitting a complaint about in the first place and you know it! Jeez, these people…


Just out of curiosity, did it say anything about the case having been reviewed by the discrimination committee, or was it more of a rejection of the complaint? The formal responses to me have been sent by post, but it seems like they only responded to you by email?

Yeah, that does seem to be the default response… :roll:

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Nothing more, what I provided was the full content of the response. I’ll follow up again now that I’ve seen it.


I use TRA at least a couple of times a month. I can book tickets using either my passport or ARC number using the TRA e-booking app. I just booked one as a test. Which app are you using?


I don’t feel so. It is just a lazy system they don’t care to fix. Not actual discrimination. Although that trigger word is a good one to use with them to try and inflict change.
I have never been asked for ID numbers buying any tickets. But I buyvthrm in person. This is a convenience problem, not an actual discrimination problem. I cannot code websites good enough to do my own shopping carts. So I use a Taiwanese 3rd party site, no e glish available. I am not discriminating against English speakers, I just simply am not bothering to provide that service.

I understand there is a case to be made that residents deserve the same service, which is true. But I really don’t feel anyone is intentionally trying to keep the foreigners down in this situation, it’s just to troublesome for them to want to fix. As soon as we make it troublesome enough, it gets fixed overnight. So fight them with this strategy, just don’t take it so personal in real life because it just simply isn’t so :slight_smile:

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It’s a bit more than that. There are certain privileges and benefits afforded to TRA members, and while it’s possible to book a ticket with an ARC/APRC number, it’s not possible to actually sign up as a member. That’s the arbitrarily discriminatory part.

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I often buy tickets using my APRC. However, I find it doesn’t work with Safari on my Mac so I switch to Firefox. Might be something like that?

A lazy system that they don’t bother to fix that prevents a recognised minority group from accessing a service is definitely discrimination.

The same with situations like: “legally foreigners can do XYZ, but our interpretation of the requirements means that ~0 foreigners are actually able to do so” is also discrimination.