MRT=Metro Rapid Transit. Chinese: 捷運 jié yùn
While you are here you may want to make use of Taipei’s public transit system. The subway known as the MRT is very efficient and easy to use. All stops are labeled and announced in English. If you use the MRT on a regular basis you will want to buy an Easy Card. This is a prepaid debit card. You simply touch it to the sensor on the turnstile as you enter and leave the MRT station. You will hear a high-pitched beep and the turnstile will unlock. If you are using a one-time use ticket, feed the ticket into the slot and it will come out on top. Take the ticket, as you will need it to exit. One-time use tickets may be purchased from vending machines located in each station. Check the map on the vending machine to determine the proper fare for your destination.
Easy Cards can be purchased at any MRT station ticket window and some automated vending machines in the stations. If the attendant does not understand, ask for a Yoyo card, its Chinese name. Easy Cards can also be used for public buses and some car parks. You can recharge them at vending machines located at each MRT station using either an ATM card or cash.
The MRT is also an excellent resource for maps. They have a free English language map of Taipei and detailed maps of the area surrounding each station. These maps are also available online.
MRT Homepage: http://www.trtc.com.tw/
Route Map with Pinyin: http://www.romanization.com/mrt/mrt_with_tones_screen.jpg
Just go to the route map and click the station you want to see.
Step by Step instructions for fare payment options: http://home.trtc.com.tw/ESERVICE92/eservice_2.asp
Public buses can take you everywhere the MRT cannot. The signs at bus stops will be in Chinese only. Some public buses are labeled in English, but not all. This is continually improving but progress can be slow.
When you use your Easy Card on a bus you touch the sensor only once, but whether to do so at the beginning or the end will depend on the bus. Near the driver, every bus will have a backlit red sign in Chinese only. The first character will be either 上 or下.
上 means you should pay as you enter.
下 means you should pay as you exit.
To remember I imagine the characters are stick men. 上 is holding his arm out blocking your way until you pay. 下 is pointing down the stairs, telling you to pay as you go down.
The English websites for buses are not as developed as for the MRT, but you can find some bus routes at the following sites.
select: English, Etransit, Taipei
Taxis are usually easy to flag down, are affordable, and the drivers are generally reasonably honest. The catch is that you must be prepared for the fact that most drivers CANNOT speak or read English. This can cause frustration if you cannot say your destination in Chinese. Even if you can say your address there may by misunderstandings because of your accent, and one tone or syllable can change the destination. If you have your destination written down in Chinese, or if you have a Chinese friend who can give directions to the driver using your mobile phone, then you should have no problem. Taipei City taxis start the meter at $70 and charge for time and distance with a higher rate charged between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am. Additional charges for baggage handling and other services may apply.
TAXI FARE RATE FOR THE TAIPEI AREA
06:00AM – 11:00PM
NT $70 UP TO 1.5KM
AFTER 1.5 KM, NT $5 PER 300 M
NT $5 PER 2 MINS
11:00PM - 06:00AM
NT $70 UP TO 1.25KM
AFTER 1.25 KM, NT $5 PER 250M
NT $5 PER 1 MIN AND 40 SECS
1. BOOKING BY TELEPHONE, NT $10.
2. TRUNK SERVICE , NT $10.