I have come to love the Taiwan High Speed Rail system since moving to Taiwan two years ago. It has redefined convenience to me, shortening a 5 hour trip on the highways of Taiwan, to a 1 and 1/2 hour journey in a quiet, comfortable setting. More importantly, it has allowed trips throughout the north and south Taiwan to become reasonable, efficient and less damaging to the environment.
I have always taken Standard Reserved Class, and it has always been nothing short of perfect. But on my latest trip to Taipei, I decided to take Business Class to experience for myself what the differences are.
On Sunday, May 8th, 2011, I took the train from Chiayi to Taipei to attend the Urban Nomad Film Festival. Instead of paying NT 1080 (US $36) for a Standard one-way ticket, I chose the Business Class ticket for NT 1455 (US $48). As I walked onto car #6, I noticed a difference immediately. Instead of 6 seats per row, there were 4 seats. The seats were larger, and also included a 110 volt electric outlet and a jack for music that was streaming on different channels. The aisle was carpeted, and there was a padded footrest.
The service in the Business Class car was better. An attractive attendant provided passengers with free coffee, muffin and a selection of daily newspapers. There was an extra pictorial magazine just for Business Class as well. It was a more relaxing experience, reading the paper to jazz music, and the trip seemed to pass much more quickly.