October 28, 2011 10:59
News that Shinsegae Group Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin drives a bus to work has become the talk of the town since the public learned that the vehicle can halve his long commute from outside the capital by taking advantage of driving-lane rules for vans and buses.
According to an industry insider on Thursday, Chung purchased the silver Mercedes-Benz Sprinter MiniBus in June of last year for business purposes. The price was about W100 million (US$1=W1,115), including a customs clearance fee. The van is better known as the Benz Ambulance in Korea.
Previously, the vice chairman showed a preference for BMW 7 Series models, but since last year, customers have noticed his new minivan regularly parked in front of the main branch of Shinsegae Department Store.
"It is one of the cars used for business," said an employee at Shinsegae. "The van is mostly used when foreign clients or major customers visit Korea."
Even though the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a 13-seater, making it significantly smaller than public buses, it is allowed to use bus-only lanes. This has helped Chung reduce his daily commute from Bundang, in Gyeonggi Province. He relocated there after he remarried last May.
If he drives a sedan to his office in Seoul from Bundang between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., it takes nearly an hour to navigate the rush-hour traffic -- a time the minibus can slash to 20 or 30 minutes.
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