COST OF LIVING/Unclaimed NT$200,000 Taichung MRT frequent passenger rebate expires

10/03/2022 08:55 PM
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A Taichung MRT train on the city green line, which officially began operation in December 2020. File photo courtesy of Taichung City government
A Taichung MRT train on the city green line, which officially began operation in December 2020. File photo courtesy of Taichung City government

Taichung, Oct. 3 (CNA) About NT$200,000 (US$6,269) in rebates introduced by Taichung Mass Rapid Transit Corp. (Taichung MRT) last year to reward frequent passengers expired before it could be claimed, the operator of the central Taiwanese city's metro service said Monday.

Since the introduction of the reward program on Sept. 1, 2021, the total value of the rebates for passengers using electronic payment cards reached NT$3.01 million, as of Sept. 30, Taichung MRT said in a statement that day.

However, around 7 percent of the total rebate, or NT$200,000 expired before eligible passengers claimed the reward within the six-month period allotted, according to Taichung MRT.

Under Taichung MRT's reward program, passengers taking 30-39 trips a month can recover 10 percent of their travel costs the following month, which is automatically added to their payment cards, such as EasyCard or icash, when they tap their cards at a ticketing machine at any stations.

Passengers who make 40-49 trips receive 20 percent of the money they spent on taking the metro service over the previous month, 25 percent for those taking 50-59 trips, and 30 percent for passengers making 60 or more trips.

According to Taichung MRT, 91 percent of the unclaimed money belonged to passengers whose payment cards were not registered with the metro service operator's app (Google Android / Apple iOS).

By installing the app on their mobile devices and having their payment cards registered, passengers can check how many trips they make a month and receive a reminder when they can collect the reward, Taichung MRT said.

In Greater Taipei

Similar situations have been reported by Taipei Metro and New Taipei's light rail service operator since 2020, when the operator of Taipei Metro first introduced such a reward program in Taiwan.

Taipei Metro introduced the reward program on Feb. 1, 2020, after the operator scrapped a 20 percent discount for each trip paid with electronic payment cards.

Passengers receive 10 percent for 11-20 journeys on Taipei Metro, and up to 30 percent for 51 journey or more.

In October last year, the issue was brought up by a Taipei city councilor, who asked how Taipei Metro planned to deal with the unclaimed reward of NT$12.99 million at the time.

Taipei Metro said it had extended the claim period from six months to one year, and would seek other ways to increase awareness among passengers about the reward program.

The metro operator in Taipei also said it would promote the use of its app (Google Android / Apple iOS), which send reminders to passengers about the unclaimed reward.

(By Su Mu-chun, Liu Chien-pang and Kay Liu)


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