One of the things that I truly appreciate about traveling around Taiwan is how convenient their train system is. Their route network is easy to understand, and the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) website is packed with all the information a traveler needs about the trains, stations, and schedules.
Even before the trip, you can already make a seat reservation on your preferred train online. We have previously created a separate step-by-step guide on how to book train tickets on the TRA website. You can find it right here.
However, making a reservation online isn’t the end of it. After paying online, you will be presented with a booking code (it can be a barcode, QR code, and alpha-numeric code). That’s NOT the ticket yet. You still need to do one last step when you arrive in Taiwan — collect the actual ticket!
WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
Where to Collect Tickets
You can collect your TRA ticket at TRA train stations or at convenience stores like 7-Eleven.
Either way, ticket collection must be done no later than 30 minutes before the departure time! Otherwise, the tickets will be forfeited and your slots will be up for grabs for other passengers.
On my recent Taiwan trip, I booked a 7am train. To avoid unnecessary drama early in the morning, I decided to claim my ticket at the 7-Eleven near our hotel the night before. You see, at 7-Eleven stores, you’ll find an ibon kiosk, a multimedia machine tucked in a corner, which allows customers to do a multitude of tasks including redemption of TRA tickets.
Although it sounds cool and easy on paper, not all machines have English translations! It’s pretty confusing for non-English speakers because all texts are in Chinese. (There is an ENGLISH button, but it presented me with very few options that don’t include ticket collection.)
Anyway, I decided to document my experience and create a guide. Before you let your fingers go tap-dancing on the ibon touchscreen, compare if the characters are the same or use Google translate to confirm. You can also seek assistance from the staff.
How to Collect Train Tickets using ibon Kiosk
1. On the main menu, tap the Ticket Center button.
It’s the button with a ticket icon and the letters TRA and THSR.
2. Tap on CHECK IN.
It’s usually the second button from the left.
3. Agree to the Terms.
It’s the usual terms and conditions presented to you when you booked your ticket. These terms might change so it’s better to translate on the spot. You can use Google Translate.
Everything good? Tap on AGREE / NEXT STEP in the bottom right corner of the screen.
4. Select nationality.
You will be given only two options. Choose LOCAL/NATIVE if you’re a Taiwanese. Otherwise, choose FOREIGNER (the button on the right).
5. Enter your Passpost Number.
It has to be the same passport number you entered when you made a reservation online. They have to match.
Done? Tap on NEXT STEP.
6. Enter your Booking Code.
This is the alpha-numeric code indicated given to you when you booked your train. You can find it at the bottom of the barcode or QR code displayed after you paid online. Then, tap on NEXT STEP.
7. Check the booking details.
The screen will show you your booking details including the travel date, train number, your route (departure and arrival stations), the number of tickets, and the booking code.
If everything is correct, tap on NEXT STEP.
8. Confirm the issuance of tickets.
The next page will retrieve more info about your booking including how much you paid, and the information per passenger. If all details look good, tap on the CONFIRM button in the bottom corner of the screen.
9. Get the payment slip from ibon kiosk.
The machine will print out a “ticket purchase service payment slip.” It’s the small piece of paper that looks like an official receipt. Like this:
It’s NOT the actual ticket yet. Pick it up and proceed to the counter.
10. Claim the actual train ticket.
At the counter, present the payment slip you got from the machine to the staff. You will be charged a handling fee of TWD 8 per ticket.
After settling the surcharge, the staff will print the actual ticket and hand it to you in an envelope. This is the ticket you’ll use to board the train.
That’s it! It’s not that bad, huh? If it weren’t for the language barrier, it would have been a quick, simple task. If the machine you’ll use has English translations, it’s gonna be much easier.
Now that you have the ticket, all you need to do now is show up at the station to catch your train. Make sure to arrive early so you have ample time in case you run into trouble.
Good luck and enjoy Taiwan!