Taipei's Public Transportation Is Awesome

28 January 2011

When my aunt says "the metro is a little slower at night, you'll have to wait 10 minutes for a train", I think back to Auckland and I laugh. I laugh, and I wish I could pack up Taipei's fantastic public transport system and plant it right into Auckland. (I guess the other half of the problem is things to do in Auckland, but I digress)

There's a version of Wellington's Snapper card here; it's called an Easycard, and it's freaking amazing. I love it to pieces.

You can also pay for a lot of things with it, as most convenience stores accept it as payment, and you don't even have to take it out of your wallet - it uses some magical near-field goodness or little electronic elves to automatically read and deduct from your card. Somewhere out there is probably an elite hacker running around with an unlimited card...

It's accepted not just on the metro but buses too, and you get a discount if you're transferring from one to the other, presumably as their way of apologizing for not being able to take you from door to door. The only gotcha when riding the buses here is you need to know whether to pay when getting on, or off the bus; and this is only written in Chinese so it's not immediately obvious for illiterate fools such as myself, but:

上車 means you pay when you're getting on the bus

and

下車 means you pay when getting off the bus

Luckily, they kind of look like up and down arrows (and okay, I do remember up and down from my very very early Chinese learning days), but it definitely caught me off guard when I first got on a bus here.

Anyway, Auckland's public transport sucks. But with so many places to visit and so many people in Taipei, I don't think anything less than this level of mass transit excellence would do.

Tags: bus, EasyCard, MRT, Taipei

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