By Todd Blackhurst
Taichung has a great bus system and it is constantly getting better. You may or may not have ridden the bus yet, but after reading this article, you will know not only how to ride the bus, but how to get around using some of the great tools available online and on your smartphone. Taichung, unlike other cities in Taiwan, currently allows everyone to ride free up to 10KM on any bus from #1-999 as long as you use an EasyCard.
CLICK HERE to watch a video I made demonstrating these instructions.
So, let’s get started!
- Go to any convenience store (7-11, FamilyMart, Hi-Life, OK Mart) and buy an EasyGo Card. Your 10KM free ride is only free if you use one of these cards. The EasyGo card is a stored value card that can be used for purchases at hundreds of stores around Taiwan. But most importantly for our purposes – it is your key to the public transit system. In Taichung, you only need to add $100TWD to the card’s initial purchase price of $100TWD and you are ready to go. For other transport options, you must have enough value on the card to purchase the tickets you want to use. This card can be used to ride almost any bus in Taiwan including public and private (some you must purchase tickets prior to riding), the MRT in Taipei and Kaohsiung, THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail) and the Taiwan Rail (regular train). You can place up to $10,000NT on the card, but be careful, if you lose the card, there is no way to recover the value unless your card is registered and you immediately go to an EasyCard Service Center to cancel the card. Anyone who finds it can spend it.
- This card, when used to enter public transportation in Taichung, allows you up to 10KM of free transport. If you travel over 10KM you must have additional value upon the card to pay for the fare. The fare is automatically computed based upon your swipe entering and exiting the bus.
- Now, once you have your card – you need a place to go. There are a couple of ways to figure this out. Google Maps is really helpful here. (Apple Maps does not yet have transit directions available for Taiwan) In addition, you can also download apps for both iPhone and android that track Taichung Bus routes.
- On the Google Map of Taichung City, find the location you wish to go to. Then zoom in until you can see a small blue icon which is a bus stop, then click on that stop (either at a computer or on your mobile phone), it will bring up a list of all the buses that serve that route. Remember, there are some locations that have more than one bus stop very close to each other, so if you don’t find a bus that connects to your location, then look a block or two away. It might be faster to use a couple of buses to connect distant points – so you may have to do some playing with the system.
- Once you have selected a bus stop, then use Google Maps Transit Directions to get a selection of buses that will take you from where you are (My Location) to where you want to go.
- A second option for planning is to play with the Taichung Bus System Map. For that, you can click the next link. If you use Google Chrome with Translate, you can see the stops in English and see where the different routes will take you. It’s a fun way to see how to explore the city using the buses. Here is a list on Wikipedia of all the Taichung Bus routes with a description. CLICK HERE
- Taichung City Bus System Link – RealTime Google Map
- One other great option that you can enjoy with your YoYo Card is the YouBike System. Not only Taichung, but the greater Taipei area, ChangHua, Yuanlin, Lukang, Fengyuan, Dajia, and Hsinchu all now have a YouBike System.
If you need help learning how to use the system, or would like assistance learning how to use the apps on your phone, we’re here to help. Contact us at TaichungExpat.