[EDITORIALS]The transportation snarlConfusion resulting from the massive overhaul of Seoul’s public transportation system is continuing. The well-coordinated cooperation between the governments of Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi province and the Korean National Railroad that is crucial to solve the problems of transferring passengers is nowhere in sight. This has damaged the efficiency of the new system and has led to complaints from the 20 million people living in the affected areas.
The level of discontent is very high. People using buses based in Gyeonggi province have an increased financial burden because they cannot use the transfer system as people in Seoul can. Another cause of complaints is Seoul’s decision to exclude buses that serve Gyeonggi province from the bus-only lanes in Gangnam in order to ease congestion in the area. That is the result of Seoul’s short-sighted policies.
The struggle between the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Korean National Railroad is also pitiful. After meeting opposition from the Korean National Railroad for its independent decision to issue 35,200 won ($30.65) monthly passes beginning on Thursday, Seoul decided to proceed with its plans by omitting sectors operated by the Korean National Railroad. Railroad officials say that they cooperated by replacing all old fare sensors but that they could not accept Seoul’s recent decision because it would mean a loss of 122.4 billion won. But it would not be right to leave out sectors operated by the Korean National Railroad from the new fare cards. If Seoul decides to proceed with its plans without solving the problem, complaints from angry subway riders will explode.
Although the current confusion can be blamed on Seoul city government’s unilateral policies, Gyeonggi province and Incheon are not free of responsibility for the problems; they did not take an active role in solving the problems of their residents.
They passed the burden for installing new fare meters on buses based in Gyeonggi province to Seoul city, and were passive in compensating for the loss caused by monthly passes to the rail authority. With the buses and subways of Seoul and the remainder of the capital area connected, they have to change their attitude.
The central government should clean up the confusion by setting up a regional transportation body in which Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi province and the Transportation Ministry participate together.