I first came to Taipei, Taiwan in October 2010. Since I had never been here, when Cebu Pacific had a seat sale, I decided to treat myself. At that time, I traveled alone. My sister Tiffy went to Japan and my parents couldn't skip work.
Most foreigners would prefer to ride the MRT to go around, mainly because it's convenient (easy to understand) and a lot of tourist spots around Taipei are found near MRT stations. However, riding the bus is cheaper and there are also some places which would be easier to reach by bus.
Therefore, in case anyone was wondering how to ride the bus in Taipei, here's a mini walk-through:
下車收費 (xia4 che1 shou1 fei4) - if the sign says 上 (shang4), then it means that you pay/swipe your card when you get on the bus. 下 (xia4) means that you pay/swipe your card when you are about to alight from the bus.
The screen in front is where the signs will flash. It will tell you where the next stop is (in both Chinese and English), and if you plan on going down at that stop, you press the button and get ready to alight.Tips:
You can ask the driver to tell you when to get off.
Newer looking buses would most probably have working signage. If you don't feel comfortable asking/talking to the driver, just looking at the signage would help.
Choose kind-looking drivers. There are some drivers who would snap at you when you ask them questions.
Prepare your card/loose change when you're about to get off. Some drivers get impatient!
You can check bus schedules and routes at http://5284.taipei.gov.tw/