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Taiwan: Proposed Railway Act Amendments Would Expand Law’s Scope, Incorporate Provisions on Compensation for Delays

(Oct. 7, 2009) On October 1, 2009, Taiwan's Executive Yuan (Cabinet) approved amendments to the Railway Act that, among other changes, would expand the law's coverage from primarily state-run railways to privately run lines. That change in turn would give the Bureau of High Speed Rail under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) a basis in law and the legal authority to investigate railway incidents. The Railway Act was promulgated on January 3, 1958, and last amended on February 3, 2006. (Railway Act [in Chinese], Laws and Regulations Database of the Republic of China,
(last visited Oct. 2, 2009); see also Amendment to Railway Law, 6530 THE GAZETTE OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT 9-10 (June 25, 2003), available at

Another significant proposed amendment makes the railway authority responsible for delays, in connection with which it must set standards for compensation and submit them to the MOTC for implementation. The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) and the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation currently have separate regulations on delays, but the provisions are not included in the railway laws. The former compensates in full a one-hour delay; the latter similarly pays the full price of the fare for one-hour delays but also pays half the ticket price for a 30-minute delay. In the view of Chang Ying-huei, the TRA's Deputy Managing Director, “while it is unusual to include delay compensation in related laws, it offers better protection of consumer rights.” (Railway Act to Cover Delay Compensation, TAIWAN TODAY, Oct. 2, 2009, available at [citing to UNITED DAILY NEWS].) For delays caused by force majeure, travelers would only receive compensation for extra expenses resulting from the delay. (Id.)

Other draft amendments prescribe new penalties for offenses related to misbehavior in railway stations or in connection with railway cars. Bringing animals into the stations or the cars in violation of relevant regulations would incur a fine of between NT$1,500 (about US$47) and NT$7,500; the same range of fines would apply to spitting, littering, posting bills, or setting up vending stands in stations. Persons who throw or shoot objects at trains in operation would face an NT$10,000 (about US$312) to NT$50,000 fine. (Id.)

In addition, the amendments penalize with a fine of NT$1,500-NT$7,500 vagrants who loiter in station lobbies, waiting areas, or platforms and inconvenience passengers or who lie on train or platform seats and are unwilling to leave. (Id.)