Transport in Taiwan

Travelling around Taiwan
Updated 2018-03-05 14:13

Transportation in the cities around Taiwan is convenient. Once outside the cities, it can get tricky with infrequent buses and taxis. For expats living in smaller cities or suburbs, it is recommended to get a driver's license and a scooter or car.

Metro Cards

Metro Cards such as EasyCard and iPass are now interchangeable in Taiwan. They can be used for commuter trains, the MRT, most buses, and public bikes.

It costs NT$100 for an unregistered card (meaning you can't report it as stolen) and can be loaded with as much money as you need. It's also easy to return for a refund on the balance and the initial deposit before departing Taiwan. Cards can be purchased at MRT stations or at convenience stores.


The MRT is Taipei's clean, efficient, and inexpensive public transportation system. It covers all of Taipei City and stretches out to metropolitan districts of New Taipei--Luzhou, Zhonghe, Xinzhuang, Tamsui, and Xindian. This subway system puts anything in the U.S. to shame.

There is also an MRT system in Kaohsiung with another in Taichung currently under construction and one in Tainan set to begin construction in 2019.

The metro lines are easy to navigate'there's a map in every station that will tell you which direction the train runs and which lines it connects to. All station announcements on the train are made in Mandarin, Hakka, and English.

In early 2017, Taiwan opened the Taoyuan Airport MRT line that connects the international airport with the city. Some airlines also allow travelers to check their luggage when boarding the train. The express train between the airport and Taipei Main Station takes about a half hour.

The TRA operates commuter trains throughout Taiwan. The commuter trains don't have reserved seats and tickets can be purchased from vending machines or at ticket offices at the main train stations. Travelers can also use their EasyCard to purchase tickets at the gate, but it cannot be used for express trains (èªå¼·è Tze-Chiang).

There is also the Puyuma Express, which runs from Taipei Main Station to Taitung in under four hours and makes a stop at Hualien for tourists to get to Taroko Gorge. The Puyuma Express and the HSR trains are quiet and comfortable rides that are some of the best train experiences I've had.

The High-Speed Rail (HSR) runs along the west coast of Taiwan. Reserved seats can be purchased up to 28 days in advance. For destinations other than Kaohsiung and Taipei, the stations are outside the cities and travelers must switch to commuter trains or buses. HSR tickets can be purchased at kiosks at the stations, convenience store kiosks (for an additional fee), or online.


Taxis are generally easy to flag down, though it gets more difficult in heavy rain or on New Year's Eve and other holidays. There are some taxi stands, particularly at the airports, train stations, and city bus stations, as well as some MRT stations.

Always have the address of your destination written in Chinese characters for the driver. Even if you speak Mandarin, the taxi driver may not understand your accent or know exactly where you're headed. Some drivers may even speak English.

It is also possible to hail a taxi from the kiosk at convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Family Mart. The kiosks are only in Chinese, so you may need help should you decide to use it.

Flag fall in Taipei is NT$70 for the first 1.25 km traveled. It is currently NT$ 5 for every 250 meters after the first 1.25 km, but there is a proposal to raise the rate to NT$ 5 for every 200 meters. There is a surcharge of NT$20 between 11pm and 6am; a surcharge is also applied on holidays.


Uber is available in Taipei, but as the company has had significant legal problems in Taiwan, it has partnered with car rental services. This means that there are few Uber cars driving around the city waiting for a passenger. Requests for a ride might take longer than in other cities around the world, but the price is still slightly less expensive than taxis.


To understand where the buses go and which one to take, download the Taipei Bus Tracker app for Android and iOS. It has information for the Taipei MRT, YouBike stations, and buses outside the city. When connected to the network or Wi-Fi, this app will provide you with route suggestions from your current location to your destination as well as the times for the buses. There is also a map feature on each bus route to help you see where to get on or off a bus.

Bus fares vary around Taiwan but are affordable. Other than in Taipei and Kaohsiung, local buses may be unreliable. In some places, locals will mention that buses are constantly behind schedule and run infrequently.


Taiwan's main airport is Taoyuan International Airport (TPE), but there are other airports in the country. Kaohsiung (KHH) has the second-largest airport but far fewer international flights. International flights from the smaller airports mostly serve destinations in South Korea and Japan.

When staying in Taipei, a taxi from Taoyuan Airport will run the meter, so prices will depend on where in Taipei you stay. Average cost for a ride is NT$1100-1300. Taxis to the airport are a flat rate. If reserved in advance, a taxi should cost NT$1000, but just stopping one on the street will usually run about NT$1200. In southern parts of New Taipei, a taxi reserved in advance may only cost NT$900.


YouBikes are public three-speed bikes that are available in many cities in Taiwan, but are mostly concentrated in Taipei. The bikes are now available in Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, and Changhua.

You can rent a YouBike at the kiosk next to the rental station with a credit card or register your EasyCard or iPass with your phone number. You choose your bike and wave your NFC card over the sensor (you will need to do so again when returning the bike).

The first half hour of use is free in most places, but not in Taipei. The first 30 minutes cost NT$5, and subsequent half hours are NT$10 each for the next three and a half hours. The bikes are NT$20 per half hour for the following four hours and NT$40 per half hour after that.

For more information visit the official YouBike website.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.