Since May 18, 2018, Changwon has replaced all city buses operated by standing buses connecting Changwon and Gimhae with seated buses. Since the 18th of May, the number 170, 58, 59, 97, and 98 buses have all been replaced with seated buses. Why did the city of Changwon make this change? Simply because the Changwon Tunnel, located in the middle of Changwon and Gimhae, is a road dedicated to automobiles. According to this regulation, on an automobile road, all vehicles must be equipped with seat belts and passengers must wear seat belts. However, all the city buses that had been traveling between Changwon and Gimhae had been running without safety belts and with individuals not wearing them. Therefore, it was against the law when it was run in its original way.
They replaced bus seats for the sake of the safety of citizens, but the inconvenience is causing complaints among citizens and students. First, standing buses can operate with standing passengers, even if there is no room to sit. However, the seated buses will no longer be available for passengers once the seats are full. Since a seated bus has only 34 to 40 people, students and workers in Changwon and Gimhae are having difficulties commuting to work. If the bus you want to take is full, you then have to wait to take a different bus, taxi or car. Also, the bus service interval between Changwon and Gimhae is 30 minutes and 40 minutes, so it is rather long and a solution is urgently needed. This is not the only problem. The fare has been raised as a result of the change from standing seats to seating. The fare for bus 170, which belongs to Changwon City, is the same as before. Whereas buses that run from Gimhae are raised from 1,300 won to 1,400 won. The price for teenagers went up from 900 won to 1,250 won and children from 650 won to 1250. The bus fare in Gimhae has especially doubled for children.
Residents of Changwon and Gimhae are actively complaining about the difficulties in such a way as to file civil complaints in their respective cities and call for swift resolution. The Gimhae City Hall's website, "Hope from the Mayor," is full of appeals from people who have trouble getting to and from school and from or work. In response, The Gimhae City government has decided to implement an extension of city buses and changes in bus routes during school and office-going hours. However, the total number of local bus services has increased ten times meaning it is not enough to accommodate all city users on time. Also, the same situation will likely be repeated after school and after work, even if they have some leeway on their way to school and work. In response, citizens demanded the increase of buses in city, but the city of Changwon insists that it is difficult to realize the increase. Citizens are asking to cancel the designation of a road for automobiles on the Changwon Tunnel Road, although it will be very difficult to reverse the designation once the law has been enacted. Jeon Ah-young (20185268), a student from the Electrical, Electronic and Control Department at Changwon National University, said, “When the seat bus system was first implemented, we missed the bus because it was full. It took me an hour to wait for the next bus and I was late for school so I was often late for class. While the road to school has become easier with the increase in bus service, most of the buses that return from school are full of seats and uncomfortable. Thank you for making the bus into a seat for the sake of the safety of citizens, but it is difficult because there is no solution to the inconvenience caused by it.” She expressed her hard feelings.
Of course, it is natural to prioritize the safety of citizens, but if the way they do so creates a big problem in their daily lives of citizens, it will only make them uncomfortable. Gimhae City and Changwon City need to actively consider the demands of citizens and make efforts to find a solution. Changwon and Gimhae, which are in conflict over civil rights, convenience and safety, are likely to come up with more effective solutions soon.
|▲ People who take bus number 170 from Changwon to Gimhae (Source: Gyeongnam newspaper)|
By Prak Ji-Hwan, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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