Tuesday's Taiwan-ism {Taiwan Public Transportation}

Oh transportation options in Taiwan...what a love hate relationship we have! I can never claim that I can't get somewhere on this tiny island (the amount of time it might take to get there...well that's another story!) We truly do have about every option of public transportation that you can imagine available here!

We will start with the most common/basic and work our way out from there!

Taxi: Who doesn't love a good taxi ride?! You get to get into a car with a strange man and give him directions in the dice-est Chinese he's probably ever heard all the while patting yourself on the back knowing I couldn't have done much more than point 6 months ago lol. We have 2 types of taxis here, the typical yellow guys and then the private cars (think along the lines of Uber). Most taxis here start their meters at 100NT ($ 3.22 USD) and then add to that depending on  the distance you travel.
Convenience: 10  /  Price Point: Not so hot! (ok maybe a 4)

Train: How I love the trains in Taiwan! Where I live (maybe 8 minutes from the station) I never have to wait more than 15 or 20 minutes for the next train in either direction and more often than not they are good about being on time (although a 3 or 4 minute delay is sometimes expected!) They might not be the fastest route for traveling across the island, but within my county they can take me just about anywhere. We have both local trains (they stop at every train stop possible) and express trains (skipping the littlest of the stops and shaving off precious time) but there's almost always also a seat available! One learning experience about the trains (and other public transit systems here) is the use of 2 colors of seats to signal who can sit where. Typically the blue seats are open for anyone while the purple seats are reserved for the elderly, pregnant, or handicapped. The train can be packed with people standing and they still honor those seats, it's heartwarming to see!
Convenience: 8 /  Price Point: 8

Bus: Ugh, the buses! We've got a tough love hate relationship with each other! When the buses are on time (Tory's quote "never on time, always late!") and their stop is CLEARLY marked they work like a breeze and are as cheap as you can get. BUT, I've had buses running 30 minutes late before, others refusing to stop and pick people up, and often times the stops are only located after consulting google maps and 17 random pedestrians! In their defense though...the buses truly do run just about everywhere!
Convenience: 3  /  Price Point: 10

HSR (High Speed Rail): The HSR is a bullet train of sorts that at top speed runs about 180mph (yeah that's my top speed to!) but alas is also the most expensive method of travel in this teeny island. There is currently 1 stop per county in each of the western counties and nothing along the east coast. Three more stops were recently added in December 2015, so I'm not positive is further expansion is in their future or not. The HSR is fast, obviously, but for some (myself included) it's not always the most convenient of transportation due to its location in my county. For some price comparison here, I can get from my house to Taipei in 1 hr & 20 min on the train and pay 80NT ($2.58 USD) or take the HSR and in 37 min (plus 25 min driving to the HSR station) pay 290 NT ($9.35 USD) and really only save me 15 minutes in the long run. It's honestly a toss up for  me to preference!
Convenience: 10/5 (speed/location)  /  Price Point: 1

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- 

Although these are the forms of public transportation available in my town...Taiwan isn't finished dazzling you yet! Throughout Taipei and other counties we also have available:

- Subway
- Cable Cars
- Ferries
- Speed Boats
- Planes
- Taxi Scooters
-U-bike (bike rental)

So take your pick...what do you think you'd want to try out here?!