Riding the Bus in Taichung

Getting around in Taichung can be a challenging experience. If you don’t have access to a scooter or car, the expense of taxi’s can add up quickly. How do you use the bus system and make sense of where to get on and off?

In Taichung, if you know what you are doing, you will almost never have to walk more than a block or two to your destination. Here are the steps to help you get on the bus.

  1. Go to your nearest 7-11 / Family Mart and purchase a YoYoKa, yes you can say that word. It will cost you a total of $200NT. The card is $100NT to purchase and you need to put $100NT of value on it. This is an RFID enabled card that can be used not only to access the bus system here, but all over the island, including the MRT system in Taipei, parking lots in Taipei and if you put more cash on the card, you can also use it pay for items anywhere you see one of the touch and pay terminals at a check out stand.
  2. In Taichung, you can ride any bus, including the BRT, up to 8 kilometers for free. All you have to do is get on the bus, hold your card against the touch terminal, (do what the locals do), wait until it beeps and then go find a place to stand or sit until it’s time to get off. When you get off, do the same thing in reverse. If you travel over 8 kilometers, you will be charged. If there isn’t enough value on your card, just head to the nearest convenience store to pay the balance and recharge the card.
  3. How do you know where to go. There are a couple of smartphone applications that enable you to easily access the bus system schedule and show the realtime status of every bus in the system. For iPhone the best one is Life@Taichung. It provides an english version of the bus system.
  4. You can also use google maps to figure out where you are going and what buses will get you there. Here’s how. On google maps, zoom in to the location you want to go to. Find the closest blue bus icon (there may be more than one). Click on that icon and a list of all the buses that serve that stop will pop up. Then click the Directions To option and tell google to use your current location or type in the place you want to travel from. Google will then give you fourĀ options: Car, Public Transportation, Walking & Bicycling. Choose the Public Transportation option and google will show you the possible routes you can take.
  5. Once you choose the route you like, pop into the smartphone app, type in the bus number you chose and it will show you the time the bus will arrive at the station closest to you. (it may take you a little time to figure out the English name of the station closest to you. In Google, most of the names are in Mandarin – just ask a friend for help)

If you need more help getting set up with your transportation needs – we specialize in this area. We can help you find the most efficient, quickest way to get around town. We can help you negotiate with a taxi service to arrange regular service, find the best bus/train route to serve your needs or plan special trips on the many buses that serve other parts of the island. Let our experience help you get moving quickly. Get off your feet and into a seat. Contact us today!

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