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Taxi drivers strike, demanding lower fuel prices, higher fares

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Published : 2012-06-20 19:46
Updated : 2012-06-20 20:02

About 200,000 taxi drivers staged their first one-day nationwide strike on Wednesday, demanding that the government cut taxi fuel prices and hike fares, officials said.

The Transportation Ministry said the government extended public transportation schedules in the day to minimize the impact from the strike.

News reports said the strike of taxi drivers ended up causing little confusion to daily commuters in Korea, the world’s third most densely populated country.
Striking taxi drivers demand lower fuel prices and higher fares during a protest at Seoul Plaza on Wednesday. (Yonhap News)

In Seoul, tens of thousands of drivers gathered for a protest rally at Seoul City plaza to press the government to accept their demands.

The protesters called for the government to diversify fuel for taxis and cut the fuel price, which takes up over 30 percent of the total expense. Currently taxis are restricted to run on LPG only.

LPG has been used as an alternative fuel for most taxis in Korea. Retail prices of LPG jumped more than 50 percent over the past three years, the union of drivers said.

Unless the government meets its demands, the union said it would hold a large-scale protest in October and another nationwide strike in December.

The government extended the bus and subway schedules for Wednesday by one hour, with an extra 998 bus and 255 subway shifts in Seoul. In Busan, the bus system increased runs by 204 and the subway by 128 to minimize commuters’ inconvenience, said officials at the Transportation Ministry.

By Chung Joo-won (joowonc@heraldcorp.com)

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