Seoul City has decided to raise taxi fares for the first time in four years by around 10 percent in October to ease operators’ financial difficulties.
The city government on Monday submitted to the metropolitan council three options, with differing mixes of basic fares and extra charges for nighttime and inter-city operations.
The bill will be considered by city council members and a consumer price adjustment panel until October. If passed it would be the first taxi fare hike in the city since 2009 when the basic rate was set at 2,400 won.
Taxi companies have called for a price rise, citing inflation. A survey by the city government of 255 firms showed that they sustain an average deficit of 34,043 won per car every day.
Consumer groups oppose the plan, which will increase living costs and may affect the prices of other goods and services.
The first option is to raise the basic rate by 600 won to 3,000 won and introduce a new 20 percent extra charge for passengers traveling between Seoul and other surrounding cities. The special charge was repealed in 2009.
The second choice is to set the basic price at 2,900, introduce the inter-city charges, and advance the time for late-night surcharge from the current 12-4 a.m. to 11 p.m.-3 a.m.
The last proposal is to a 700 won rise in basic rate to 3,100 won while keeping other conditions intact.
The overall increase rates were tallied at 10.5 percent, 9.3 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively.
The city has also offered a comprehensive plan to better the taxi service. Taxi drivers will be obligated to take compliance education if they are reported to reject passengers based on their preferences, the biggest source of complaints among customers.
If the violators fail to complete the education, they will be restricted from driving cabs and working in other taxi firms as well.
Drivers will also be required to wear official attires and banned from smoking inside their vehicles..
Meanwhile, night bus services will be expanded beginning in mid-September.
By Lee Hyun-jeong (email@example.com