Service area visitors fall on route, weather, virus

NEW OFFERINGS: Several freeway service areas still boosted revenue by selling popular products from South Korea or introducing well-known restaurants

Taipei Times
Date: Feb 05, 2020
By: Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The launch of the Sibin Expressway (Highway No. 61), bad weather and intensive news coverage

A section of the Sibin Expressway in Changhua County is pictured in an undated photograph.
Photo courtesy of the Changhua County Government

about a coronavirus outbreak in China contributed to a decrease in the number of visitors to freeway service areas during this year’s Lunar New Year holiday, the Freeway Bureau said yesterday.

A total of 1,452,988 people visited 14 freeway service areas during the seven-day national holiday, down 8.89 percent from the same period last year, with revenue at the stops sliding 4.77 percent to NT$218.99 million (US$7.25 million), bureau data showed.

“The final stretch of the Sibin Expressway was open for traffic before the Lunar New Year holiday, which helped divert some traffic away from freeways,” Toll and Service Division Director Liu Feng-liang (劉逢良) said. “News outlets started providing extensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in China and how it affected the nation on the first day of the holiday, and the weather turned bad on the second day of the holiday.”

“All of these factors contributed to a significant decrease in visitors to freeway service areas,” he said.    [FULL  STORY]

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