August 17, 2018 11:10
Commuters can breathe a sigh of relief after intercity bus companies decided not to halt operations after all.
Incheon city officials said Thursday that six intercity bus companies that had announced plans to shut their Seoul routes because they cannot afford the minimum wage hike have decided to continue operations.
Around 50,000 commuters use the intercity buses every day to make their way to and from the capital.
The six bus companies had planned to stop services from next week citing snowballing losses due to the minimum wage hike and the need to hire more drivers to meet the new 52-hour cap on the working week.
Incheon city decided it would be impossible to tap into city funds to help make up for the losses and instead threatened to assign new bus companies to the routes. The bus companies backed down.
But industry watchers say the dispute could erupt again any time. The cost concerns remain, so the bus operators want to hike fares. One option would be to scrap a 20-percent discount during early morning hours, but city officials are not willing to accept that since it would end up transferring the cost burden to commuters.
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