I have chosen public transportation as a started post this week, because it is one of the major expenses that anyone will face living here (others including food and rent)Taipei city is a very convenient place with lots of routes and types of transportation that will pretty much take you anywhere you want. You will probably mainly use the following public transport here:
Before I move on to talk about different types of transportation and their relative cost, let me get one thing straight. I find that public transportation in Taiwan is expensive. You might say that in your home country transport cost about the same or is even more expensive, but take into consideration your other living expenses as well as average salary of Taiwanese versus averages in your home country.
The very first thing that you want to do is to get an Easy Card, which is obtainable at any MRT station. It is good for few reasons, but mainly: it saves you money, and is really convenient. To receive an MRT card, you need to put a deposit of NT100 (fully refundable,) as well as any deposit you wish to be used for future fares. Once you get the card, all you need to do is swipe it when you enter (or leave) bus, MRT, train, rent bicycle, or even pay for taxi (among other goodies, such as pay for parking lot, use at convenience stores, etc.)
Now, if you are a student - make sure you bring your student ID with you to receive student MRT card, which will get you 20% off all transportation costs (excluding taxi.) If you are handicapped or retired, bring your documents to and you will get another MRT card, that gets you 90% off.
Taipei MRT ride costs anything between NT20 to NT65, depending how far you travel (it has more than 100km of tracks) and of course, if you have discount MRT card, it will deduct the percentage automatically.
A single bus fare costs NT15 (if you transit from MRT to bus, you get 50% off, so if you are a student and would pay normally NT12, you pay NT6 instead, within 2 hours of the last card scan - it works vice versa, if you transit from bus to MRT, you will receive reduced fare of NT6-7.) A word of caution: sometimes you will need pay more than once in the same bus. Buses here map and driver will change the sign from up to down (up - you pay when you enter, down - you pay when you leave) if you travel quite long.
Taxi is also a popular public transportation way, especially at night time when MRT and buses are not operating. It costs NT70 for basic fare for first 1.25 km, and then additional NT5 for every quarter of kilometer, or NT5 for every 100 seconds if taxi does not move or move slower than 5km per hour. Some taxi companies offer discounts (up to 30%) if you call and order taxi. Usually if you travel alone at night time, it is recommended that you order taxi, just for your own safety.
Train is also widely used in Taipei and can be much cheaper and faster to travel by local train. It usually costs NT15 within city, but the price increases the farther you go.
Bicycle is one of the more recreational ways of using public transportation. You can rent bicycle anywhere around downtown (just swipe your MRT card to release bicycle) or around bicycle path, especially around river bank. The rental cost for 1 day is about NT100.
Unfortunately Taiwan does not offer monthly and unlimited cards, so keep in mind additional expenses on transportation when deciding where to work, study, play and live.
Easy Card: NT100 deposit
MRT (Subway) fare: NT20 to NT65
Bus: single fare: NT15, transit from MRT: 50% off
Train: NT15 around Taipei, higher for longer distances
Bicycle: rental NT100 per day, can also rent by hour
Taxi: First 1.25km: 70NT, additional 0.25km: NT5, 100 second wait: NT5, After 11PM: +20 NT to the fee (it won't show on the machine, but it is extra charge for night taxi service)
Students: 20% off (except taxi) Elderly: 90F off (except taxi)