Go to contents

Reorganization of Public Transportation System Causing Pain for Citizens

Reorganization of Public Transportation System Causing Pain for Citizens

Posted June. 16, 2004 21:13,   


The city of Seoul and Gyeonggi-do did not come to an agreement on the conflict over the fare of 2,500 buses whose routes lie across their boundaries.

This is not applicable to red buses that cover wide areas, because a fixed fare will be charged for them regardless of the distance. If a Gyeonggi provincial resident came to Seoul by taking local buses of Gyeonggi-do from Gwangmyeong-si Gyeonggi-do to Yeongdeungpo Seoul for example, the resident would not be able to take advantage of the no-charge benefit of a transit passenger when he or she wants to transfer to a subway or to another bus.

The reason for the lack of an agreement stems from the fact that they have not made a decision yet on whether they will allow using traffic cards, and who will bear the transfer expense.

Traffic information system team leader Wi Chang-ryang of the city of Seoul said, “We negotiated with Gyeonggi-do to set up smart terminals in buses for the use of traffic cards, but did not reach a conclusion. However, we will set up the terminals in July after negotiating directly with the bus companies.”

It is the standpoint of the city of Seoul that when Gyeonggi provincial residents are transferring to public transportation routes in Seoul, Gyeonggi-do also should bear its share of the expense. However, it is not certain whether Gyeonggi-do will accept that idea.

Wi said, “It is not fair if Gyeonggi provincial residents share in the benefits of Seoul residents’ tax payments. Therefore, Gyeonggi-do should accept their share of responsibility.”

However, Traffic Section chief Jo Cheong-sik of Gyeonggi-do said, “It is the city of Seoul that is reorganizing its own transportation system. It is ridiculous to shift their responsibility to us. When Gyeonggi residents express their dissatisfaction about the transfer system and transportation fare after the enforcement of this act next month, the city of Seoul will step back.”

--User-oriented services are put off

The city of Seoul has promised a Bus Management System (BMS), along with the reorganization of the transportation system, to offer citizens real-time operating information. However, the BMS service starting from July is not provided for citizens waiting for a bus in a bus stop.

The information will be given only to bus drivers in whose buses are equipped with a BMS terminal. The terminal will be equipped in 5,031 buses out of more than 8,000. The plan to install information machines in bus stops is still pending because of cost issues.

Citizens can be informed about when the bus is coming if they input the proper number of the bus stop by using ARS through their cellular phones or wireless internet. However, even the web address regarding the service has not yet been decided on.

Custom-made bus service and late-night bus service that the city of Seoul promised will be out of service for a while. The custom-made bus service drew much of the people’s attention because it is expected to both be used for shuttle services to malls and be provided to consumers in wherever route, on whichever day of the week and whenever time of the day they want.

A city official said, “As all the routes of the bus will be changed, we have to take enough time to see the characteristics and demands of each route before implementing custom-made and late-night bus services.”

Ji-Young Chae yourcat@donga.com