|▲The appearance of a taxi stop in front of Seoul Station (Source: Yonhap News)|
Since last April, after removing social distance conditions, a 'Taxi Crisis situation' has happened: people going home fail to take a taxi due to the situation that the supply of taxis could not keep up with the demand. The situation lasted for a few months and many people have gone on the strike, which continued to this day, leading to a serious problem, called, “Taxi Ride Difficulties.” The main cause of taxi ride difficulties is the taxi drivers' breakaway. Seoul City presented a taxi fare raise plan in consideration of taxi drivers' condition, which turned aside delivery business and their issue that they didn't prefer nighttime driving services. How will the taxi fare increase be revised increase sequentially?
Now, on a medium-sized taxi criterion, the basic fare is 3,800 won per day up to 2km and 4,600 won per night. The distance fare is 100 won per 142m. The time fare is 100 won per 35 seconds for driving less than 15km, and a 20% surcharge will be added for driving when operating from 12P.M. to 4A.M. at night and ouside the business area. However, in order to resolve taxi ride difficulties, medium-sized taxi basic fares will be raised by 1,000 won to 4,800 won, while the basic distance will be reduced from the current 2km to 1.6km, distance and time fares will be adjusted, too. The basic fares to be changed are put on a plan that will be applied gradually from next February. Also, at the end of year in December, the late-night extra flexible fare system will be introduced. At present, the time of late-night extra charges is from 12P.M. to 4A.M. However, from 11P.M. to 2A.M., when there are many passengers, the surcharge rate will be applied differently from the existing 20% to 20-40%, by moving the time of late-night surcharge up to 10 P.M. Then, based on the late-night surcharge peak time, the late-night surcharge will be applied at a 40% increase, raising the basic fare up to 6,700 won. Seoul deluxe taxis and large deluxe taxis' basic fares will be ascended from next February. These fares will increase from the current 6,500 won to 7,000 won per 3km; at an increment of 500 won. In addition, those taxis will also be introducing the late-night surcharge and an extra surcharge for driving outside of the main business areas, like medium-sized taxis from December.
Seoul City is expecting that taxi drivers' pay and the number of driving taxis will be increased by improving taxi drivers' treatment, with increased taxi fares and surcharge rates. An official from the taxi industry said, “The number of taxi drivers has decreased by about 30% through COVID-19, and passengers are increasingly uncomfortable, for reasons such as not being able to catch taxis on time. The taxi industry will be able to normalize again only when the actual wage increase continues along with the fare raise,” namely he claimed the position that the fundamental solutions should be required to attract taxi drivers, along with the taxis' supply.
On the other hand, the atmosphere of being not happy with the fare adjustment plan is going around taxi drivers. Kim Jong-hyun, the head of the taxi branch of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions' Public Transport Union, said, “The key is not a fare raise. Corporate taxi drivers are worried that the amount of money that companies bring will increase as the fare increases.” In the view of customers, as taxi fares increase from the year-end, there is a concern that the burden will be larger at that time when taxi usage is high. Netizens have various responses that such as, “If fares will be raised, I will reduce taxi usage frequency,” “I wish I could order in an Uber in Korea,” and more. Some commented that the taxi crisis and taxi ride difficulties happened because of not improving taxi drivers' treatment or not being on a reformed platform, but because they're just trying to raise the fares.
Since 2019, for the first time in four years, many people are responding very sensitively about taxi fares being raised. As the Seoul City first confirmed the implementation of the rise in taxi fares, an increase in taxi fares is expected to be inevitable. Oh Jae-hak, the head of the Korea Transportation Institute, said, “If the taxi ride difficulties are prolonged even with the revised fare increase, the public transportation service at night should be greatly expanded or the competition system in the taxi industry should be introduced. Additionally, in the mid and long-term, we need to prepare for the trend of labor shortage in the future.”
By Park Seong-eun, cub-reporter
By Park Seong-eun,cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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