Traveling around Taiwan is simple with the country’s reliable public transportation system. It’s made even more convenient when you use the iPass.
What is iPass?
iPass is a smartcard people use around Taiwan to use public transportation services. It’s one of two systems used in the country—the other being EasyCard. Most people in Taiwan use one or the other and there’s pretty much no difference between the two. A few years ago, EasyCard was used in Taipei while iPass came from Kaohsiung. But now they provided the same services and are accepted in for practically all public transportation systems in Taiwan.
These cards store your funds electronically so that when you go to the train station or board the bus, all you have to do is scan your card to pay for the ride. With iPass, commuters and tourists don’t have to worry about carrying change or waiting to buy a ticket. It’s a convenient and hassle-free way to get around Taiwan.
Purchasing an iPass Card
To get your very own iPass, simply go to any metro station in Taipei or Kaohsiung. It’s also available for purchase at select convenience stores and a few bus stations. The card costs 100 TWD and additional funds must be added to for it to be used. Before you head to Taiwan, secure your own iPass card through KKday that can be picked up at the airport when you arrive.
Adding Funds to iPass
Before using iPass, remember to add money to it. Funds can be added through convenience stores and at metro stations. 7-11 and OK Mart require a minimum of 100 TWD when topping up iPass cards, but any amount can be put into the card at other locations.
Using iPass to Travel
When taking the trains, simply tap your card on the sensors by the station gates and pass right through. After you get off the train, tap the card again to exit. It’s that simple! From Taipei in the north to Kaohsiung in the south, both of Taiwan’s major MRT systems accept iPass.
For buses, some require just one tap for the entire ride. Others might need a tap when you get on and another one when you get off the bus. Just watch how others are doing it and follow their lead.
iPass is also a great way to travel around the country. Most TRA trains accept iPass for non-reserved seats, so it’s easy to visit other cities if you plan to do some domestic travel during your stay in Taiwan.
Tired of taking the bus or train? Consider borrowing one of the public bikes available around cities. These bikes can also be paid for using iPass and allow you to explore the city while enjoying the view as you pedal through the streets.
What makes the iPass even more useful is the fact that it also functions as an electronic wallet. Not only can you use it for transportation but also to buy other things. Most convenience stores in Taiwan accept payment through iPass. If you’re short on cash or don’t feel like carrying change, just add money to your iPass and pay using that.
Select stores and restaurants also allow purchases through iPass. These places will have signs featuring the company logo or you can find a list on the iPass website. Keep these in mind when you’re close to leaving Taiwan and want to use up your remaining balance.
Validity Period and Refunds
If you’re considering another visit to Taiwan, don’t get rid of your iPass card! You can use these cards again when you return to Taiwan with your balance intact. The cards themselves are valid for 20 years, but the value stored in them don’t expire. But in case two decades pass before your next trip, you can get another card or receive a refund as long as you provide your old card.
However, if you want a refund of your remaining balance before leaving Taiwan, just visit any metro station in Kaohsiung and Taoyuan and talk to the staff at the iPass service center or the station’s information booth.
Be careful with your iPass card, though. Lost cards cannot be replaced so it’s best to keep it secure and think about how much you want to put into the card.
Once you’re ready to go out and explore, have a look at KKday’s guide to Taiwan’s most popular tourist spots. They’re all within reach of the Taipei MRT, so keep your iPass in hand!
*Featured image from KKday Supplier