[EDITORIALS]It’s not the public’s faultIt is hard to understand how Lee Myung-bak, Seoul’s mayor, could blame the confusion caused by Seoul’s transportation changes on citizens’ lack of research. If he had truly considered the suffering and discomfort that the citizens have suffered, he could hardly have spoken those words.
Why doesn’t he know that this is a time to be quiet? As the bus and subway systems are being integrated, fares have been increased while students and other residents are trying to survive in the morning hours when they commute to their workplaces or schools. Yet the mayor keeps irritating people with improper comments.
It is true that the public did not have enough knowledge before the new systems were put into place, and their ignorance may have added to the confusion. Nevertheless, malfunctioning card readers and exclusive bus lanes have nothing to do with a lack of research on the public’s part. During the development and implementation of the system there was a lack of testing and monitoring, while an inaccurate study on the traffic flow has caused the congestion in the new bus lanes.
The city of Seoul should have taken into account various possible scenarios that would unfold in light of the introduction of the new traffic system. Introducing the new system during vacation time or on weekends when the traffic is somewhat lighter would have been the logical choice. The current situation is the result of trying to introduce the new changes in time for Mr. Lee’s second anniversary as mayor.
The city needs to confer immediately with the Korean National Railroad and Gyeonggi province in order to come up with a solution. That the introduction of the new traffic system was hasty and took place without any consultation with these parties has caused the railroad to object to issuing season fare tickets, while Gyeonggi province is complaining that its residents who commute to Seoul have to bear a heavier burden in fares.
Whatever is done, the public has to come first. Nothing should be implemented by the city of Seoul so that the mayor can look good. Mr. Lee needs to become a mayor who thinks foremost about the public interest rather than his own ambitions.
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