Taipei city buses receive 100,000 foreign coins over four years
Coin collecting boxes installed on buses operating in Taipei have received around 100,000 foreign coins and nearly 10,000 gaming tokens over the past four years, the Taipei City Public Transportation Office has reported.
As local banks only accept foreign paper money and not coins for exchanges, most bus operators simply store them in warehouses or sell them for their scrap value.
The more-than 110,000 foreign coins and game tokens collected between 2011 and 2014 weigh about 400 kilograms in total and come from China, the United States, Canada and Vietnam, among various other countries.
If they are sold as scrap, they would fetch NT$ 23,000 ( US$ 703) at most, but could fetch a higher price from local stamp and coin firms.
Metropolitan Transport Corp., one of the Taipei city bus operators, said that most of its bus fare revenue comes from EasyCard holders and that coins only account for 8 percent of the revenue.
About 1 percent of the collected coins are foreign currency or game tokens, the company said.
One bus driver said he can only determine by eye the coins dumped into the fare hopper by passengers, but as the time at each stop is short and the number of passengers can be high, it is sometimes difficult to tell if the right coins are being put in the box.
The Taipei City Public Transport Office said it is willing to help bus operators to coordinate with banks to help solve the problem.