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Seoul’s Bus Lanes Wearing Out Sooner Than Expected

Posted October. 11, 2007 03:47,   


The Seoul Metropolitan government is being denounced for poorly marked and constructed center bus lanes three years after their completion, and it is also being criticized wasting tax money on their repavement.

The Seoul city government said yesterday, “We are about halfway done with repainting the bus lanes with black asphalt. The newly paved roads will not be as easily damaged. However, bus drivers are complaining that it is difficult to differentiate between bus lanes.” The city government is planning to paint the lanes with red paint.

A Waste of Precious Tax Money -

The lanes started to show wear less than three years after their construction. The expected life span of the lanes was five to six years.

After requests from experts and drivers, the city had the lanes repaved starting June. The repavement was completed last month for the lanes in Dobong and Mia Streets (15.8km), Susaek and Seongsan streets (6.8km), and Gangnam Street (5.9km) that were all built before 2004.

In the process, “reformed asphalt,” which is more durable, was used. Mangwoo (4.8km) and Gyeongin streets (6.8km), which were constructed in 2005, will have the new pavement by the end of next year.

These changes have invited criticism from Seoul citizens that the city government did a poor job of calculating the life span and strength of the materials used, and thus wasted a great deal of taxpayers’ money.

Nam Hyeon-seop, who drives bus No. 140 on Gangnam Street, said, “After the color of the lane changed to black, passenger cars cut into the bus lane. The bus lanes should be painted red.” This is why the city government planned to paint the lanes red, which is more difficult than just paving the lanes with red paving material. However, now Seoul is debating whether it should do this or not, because it will cost an additional 1.5 million won per 100 square meters of road. On top of that, some drivers prefer the bus lanes to be painted black.

Kim Chang-soo, who drives bus No. 470 on Susaek and Seongsan streets, said, “The new roads are less slippery, so instead of using red paint, drawing red lines will be enough.”

One municipal official said, “The final decision will be made reflecting opinions of bus drivers at the end of this year.”