East Coast Ferry Plan

Bi-khim is currently a statewide legislator of Taiwan; Hualien, a county in the east coast of Taiwan, is therefore not Bi-khim’s electoral district for the 8th term, but since Bi-khim was asked by her party to run for Hualien’s legislative election in 2010 , she had made a decision to stay in Hualien to provide services to the people of Hualien (花蓮). After coming back to the parliament in 2012, Bi-khim has been pushing for a variety of policies that are relevant to the local development in Hualien. One that Bi-khim is especially concerned about is the external transport situation for Hualien; hence, she advocates establishment of Blue Highway (藍色公路) that connects Suao Harbour and Hualien Harbour by ferry.

image

A water based transport is particularly important for Hualien for a number of reasons. Hualien is one of the regions in Taiwan that has a relatively higher population outflow because of the lower job opportunities and career incentives, a result of the main industries being agriculture and tourism. Thus, the weekly schedule for many people of Hualien would be traveling back and forth between Hualien and other urban areas, such as Taipei City. Some people would drive on their own through Suhau Highway (蘇花公路) while some other would choose to take trains, but both of which do not suffice the basic transport needs of the Hualien residents. Due to the fact that Suhau Highway was constructed on earthquake fault lines as well as to the high frequency of its happening, the instability of soil has caused severe safety problems for a very long time. Secondly, the scarcity of train tickets has also negatively added onto the issue of external transport options for Hualien. Together with the lack of supply for train tickets and safety issues of SuHau Highway, Bi-khim believes that building an east coast ferry plan that provides services on a regular basis could help to ease the problems to a great extent.

“The central government has owed too much to the people of Hualien over the past decades. They pay taxes just like people of other cities with no exception, but their single most important demand of having a safe way to get back home has not been taken into serious considerations by policy making leaders” Bi-khim said.

image

“Since the ferry could still operate in face of typhoon, people would no longer be forced to drive on a risky highway where personal safety is not even guaranteed.” she added

Not only will the ferry plan resolve the high passenger flow going to and from Hualien, the ferry itself is also a tourist attraction because you get to see ChingShui Cliff (清水斷崖)-one of the most popular landmarks in Taiwan- from the Pacific Ocean on the ferry.

image   image

Despite the benefits, the prices of the tickets are certainly too high to be afforded by the  Hualien people; therefore, Bi-khim urges the government to propose a comprehensive subsidizing program as well as the evaluation report on various supporting measures. She believes that such a plan is not merely an alternative transport option, it also has greater economic efficiency and is more consistent with our environmental consideration from a longer-term perspective.

image   image

Bi-khim has held a number of public-hearings and communicated for numerous times with the relevant departments in the executives.

imageOn August 7th of 2013, East Coast Ferry finally took its maiden voyage. This day is very special for Bi-khim because it was also her birthday!  She invited some of her colleagues (legislators) to join her for this special event. During the ride, Bi khim said to everyone that the maiden voyage of the ferry is one of the best birthday presents she has ever received and all the tiring work she has done in the parliament seem to have paid-off and are worthwhile.