A high-speed train would outrank all competitors in Taiwan, it was said. But nine years later the coach market is thriving and Taiwan is one of Scania’s most important bus markets worldwide.
Because of the rugged mountainous terrain of central Taiwan, population and economic growth has developed mainly along the islands west coast plains. For years, the ever-increasing demands of north-south passenger transport were maintained by bus, making Taiwan to one of the most important coach markets in the world.
But January 5th 2007, a Japanese inspired high-speed train connected the 345 kilometres from Taipei to Kaohsiung in 90 minutes.
“Travel in style”
“Of course the coach market has been affected by such a massive investment in the infrastructure,” Scania Taiwan´s Sales and Marketing Director David Lin say. “But the buses are far from dead. Many Taiwanese people still want to travel in style.”
A real hub for these travelling connoisseurs is the bus terminal for operator Ho-Shin Bus in Tainan, 250 kilometres south of Taipei. Every five to ten minutes some of Asia´s most luxurious coaches arrive or depart to pick up passengers for an extravagant intercity ride up north or down south along the coast. Most of these coaches have twelve seats, some just ten.
Passengers love it
“With fully reclining seats, each with its own video system, these passengers can experience a comfort the high-speed train does not come near,” Lin says.
At the Tainan terminal, Mandy Sun has just arrived from Kaohsiung.
“It was really a nice experience to go with these buses instead of the high-speed train. I almost lost myself in the big seats and felt myself very safe the whole trip.”
Jacky Yang arrived in coach coming from the north.
“The buses are so spacious and quite I almost fell asleep. And it´s very convenient that you can watch TV and recharge your own mobile devices.”
Today Ho-Shin Bus operates around 200 Scania buses, mainly because of an excellent uptime and fuel consumption. The buses are running more or less 24/7, only stopping to drop off or pick up passengers, fuel up or change drivers.
“Nowadays Scania sell more buses than trucks here in Taiwan,” Lin says. “In the heavy bus segment – 300 hp and above – we have a 60 percent market share. Both in 2015 and this year we have sold close to 500 buses.”