April 17, 2015 12:09
Subway and bus fares will rise in Seoul as early as next month, but passengers who take public transport early in the morning will get a 20 percent discount for the first time.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the decision Thursday and asked the city council for its opinion, a customary practice. The city government normally accepts whatever decision the city council reaches, although it is not obliged to comply.
The city government presented two plans to the city council. According to Plan A, the basic subway fare will rise by W250 (23 percent) from W1,050 to W1,300 and the bus fare by W150 (14.2 percent) from W1,050 to W1,200. But youth and children's fares will be frozen at W720 and W450 (US$1=W1,090).
Under Plan B, the subway fare would rise to W1,250, W50 less than Plan A. Passengers using transport cards will get 20 percent off basic fares, or pay W1,040 on the subway and W960 on the bus, if they take them before 6:30 a.m.
In 2013, early-morning passengers accounted for 3.26 percent and 3.3 percent of all bus and subway passengers in Seoul.
"Discount fares aim to distribute traffic demand during morning hours and help many less privileged people who take subways and buses early in the morning," a city official said.
The rise comes three years and four months since the last hike in February 2012. The city government maintains that the rise is inevitable because snowballing losses in public transport weigh heavily on its finances.
The city government suffered a deficit of W424.5 billion from subways and W309.2 billion from buses last year, mainly due to discounted fares for transit passengers and free fares for an increasing number of older people.
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