So I went to the train station and was pleasantly surprised to see multiple language options for the transit maps. Then I looked a little closer and saw that I could choose between Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. I took Chinese, Japanese and Spanish, figuring that I could puzzle it out from all three. They are all a little different. The Chinese map is the most helpful, with a large fold-out that includes a street map. The Japanese map appears to be outdated and there are a few train stations missing. (!)
The farecard machine had an option for English language, but when selected the only text it displayed in English was “Place your farecard here.” Which I knew already.
Here’s my receipt. You can also buy a single-use coin. I couldn’t figure out how to compute the fare, so I didn’t.
Other than not having any idea how much each leg of the trip costs, the train system is pretty easy to navigate. The lines are all color-coded and the station name signage is romanized. The announcements are in Mandarin, Taiwanese, some other Chinese language I couldn’t recognize, and English.
The trains are shockingly clean and people are mannerly. Everybody queues to board. Eating and drinking are strictly prohibited.
In some of the stations, I noticed dedicated lanes for people with disabilities. The stations all appear to be accessible, and there are wide gates for wheelchair users. Very unlike the public transit in my hometown, which requires you to find a surly station attendant to unlock the elevator and to open the gate.
The train system is relatively recent, and has been widely adopted by residents and tourists alike. There were also signs of new stations going up. If you build it, they will come.