Ever since the IBM *Team Taichung arrived here, we have been overwhelmed by goodness, warmth and hospitality! The IBM Taipei team was well prepared to meet with us and prep us for our kickoff meeting with the Taichung city leaders.
And before we met with the leaders we had adequate opportunities to experience the local transportation services. And it is beyond impressive! The citizens have “multi-modal” (bikes, buses, metro, inter-city high speed trains etc.) transportation services available to them! They have conveniently located bike racks from their homes to pick up ergonomically designed, sturdy, yet fun and inspiring looking bikes to get to their nearest transportation network of buses and trains. They unlock and pay for these bikes with an ‘iPass’ card. By the way the first 10 mile usage is free. Then they have a quite well established network of commuting options of public transportation. They have Apps that show minute by minute status on the availability of these services. They use common payment cards for all public transportation.
By the way, parking for private vehicles such as scooters and cars is free, except in high density, congested areas where a nominal fee is charged. Really? Is this utopia?
In Taichung, everywhere we turned we saw “citizen centric” services, meaning the services are designed and delivered for the benefit of citizens. And then there is continued commitment to improve those services – faster routes to destinations, faster arrival times, better connections, less wait times, parking availability indicators, electronic payment systems, nominal fee, green buses, decreasing CO2 emissions and the list goes on.
Taichung city is indeed a ‘role model’ city that other cities within Taiwan and abroad can and should emulate!
And yet, the Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung and his team of leaders are focused on further improving these services, particularly the transportation services. Mayor Lin is really his people’s mayor ! He is laser focused on continuously improving. It seems, for Mayor Lin the progress never stops nor sleeps!