Getting Around Taichung

Taichung City has greatly improved its city bus service in recent years, but it is still just a fragment of what it was 20 years ago, and as there are no bus lanes to allow public transport priority access, buses can be a very slow way to get around. Bus services can be very limited, even routes like the journey from the airport to the city centre only has one bus every two hours, and it can take over 2 hours to travel the eight kilometers by bus, due to the often heavily congested roads and a circuitous route.

 Only main routes, such as from the Central Train station to Tung Hai University are well served, with buses running every few minutes from competing bus companies. There is also a regular shuttle bus from The Central Station to the new High Speed Railway Station which runs every 15 minutes until 10 pm which also stops at Sogo Department store. Unlike other major cities in Taiwan, Taichung has no MRT or subway system despite funds having been allocated for that express purpose years ago. Motorcycles, followed by automobiles, are by far the most widely used forms of transportation in Taichung City.

Renting a scooter or motorcycle is very common for getting around the city or escaping to the countryside. Bicycles are making a comeback as a fashionable form of transport, and the government has established a limited number of segregated bicycle paths in the city to encourage this. Although there are some safety concerns, motor scooters are the quickest and most convenient form of transport in Taichung, motor scooters can be rented from several places near the main central railway station from about US$6 a day. Taichung is not a walking city, despite being very compact, as there are almost no pavements (sidewalks) it can be difficult and unpleasant to walk even short distances. Because Taichung City is relatively flat and very compact, bicycles are also a very efficient form of transport, but be prepared to sweat as it can get hot in the summer. Taxis cost about US$3 for short rides, and about US$2–3 for every extra couple of kilometres depending on traffic.

Navigation around the city is fairly simple, as the city's road system is designed roughly like a bicycle wheel, with the hub at the old Central Station and the main routes radiating outwards, crossing ring roads which circle the city. Taichung Gang Road (Taichung Harbour Road), usually just called Chung Gang Road, is the major thoroughfare crossing Taichung, It is an eight-lane road which links Taichung Central Railway station to Taichung Harbour, about 25 km to the northwest. Heading out along Chung Gang Road from the station you reach the area around Sogo department store after about 2.5 km, which with department stores, cafes, restaurants and 5 star hotels, could be described as the city centre. The main long distance bus station, which has services to Taipei to the North and Kaoshiung to the South is situated at the motorway junction on Chung Gang Road about 6 km out from the station. Further out of the city, up the hill which divides the city from the harbour, about 10 km along Chung Gang Road is Tung Hai University and nearby Art Street, a thriving area full of students, artists and popular with foreigners.
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