Among Taiwan's lofty peaks and steep valleys sit many of the island's remote villages and communities. In this environment of sparse population and sometimes deficient roads, traditional bus services face operational challenges, adding inconvenience to residents' everyday lives. The government in recent years has sought to bring transportation equality to such areas, pushing into every isolated pocket with a diverse and flexible range of transport solutions focused on the people who will use them. This drive has seen gradual success in bridging the final mile between remote communities and the wider transportation network, with highway public transport services reaching 91.96% coverage in 2023 compared to just 70% in 2016.
The future will see a continued focus on easing regulations, applying technology to deliver needs-based solutions, injecting additional private-sector resources, as well as deriving maximum advantage from local resources to provide transportation services tailored to the needs of remote and rural communities.
Achievements and innovations
■ Road safety enhancements in remote areas: This includes road bed maintenance, resurfacing and other infrastructure projects, as well as subsidizing traffic system infrastructure to achieve increased quality across the overall roadway network.
■ Mobile licensing and registration stations: Rural residents can access government services related to motor vehicle operation—including scooter and motorcycle training and operator licensing, return of cancelled license plates, and other digital services—at nearby mobile service stations.
■ "Happiness Bus" services: Largely run by local government, with some routes contracted to bus or taxi carriers, this service primarily provides prescheduled bus service at set times along set routes, coupled with the option of flexible routes and timetables for advance reservations.
■ "Happiness Taxi" services: Some bus routes have been opened to taxis to offer more flexible transport services. Mainly based on fixed routes and timetables, this service also provides flexible advance booking of rides.
■ Pilot ride-sharing program: A common technological platform connects drivers of under-utilized private vehicles and those seeking rides, with a ride-matching service center scheduling routes and vehicles to provide a seamless public ride-sharing service.
■ Additional private sector resources: Businesses are encouraged to embrace corporate social responsibility by investing in remote and rural transportation services.