[Letters]Special taxis for foreigners

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[Letters]Special taxis for foreigners

The Seoul city government will soon field special taxis for foreigners. For five months, these taxis will be on probation. Service in English will be available when using these taxis. The fare to be charged will be about 20 percent higher than by regular taxis. Also, passengers will be able to pay by credit card.

Depending on the response, this service will be in full operation around the end of this year. Chinese and Japanese service will also be available. There will be around 1,000 of these special taxis.

Seoul city officials emphasize that these special taxis will be really beneficial to foreigners because they ease the language barrier. They said this plan can also clear up some problems passengers encounter regarding the fare structure.

There are supporters as well as opponents to the plan among non-Koreans as well as Koreans.

People who are supportive say that this special service for foreigners is worth the extra charge. Most foreigners living here as well as tourists struggle to communicate with people who speak only Korean. Also, this special plan will impress upon foreigners that Seoul is a global city.

However, some people think about this issue differently. They think this is nothing but wasting money; it’s not worth paying extra charges and will be ineffective.

Some foreigners who are opposed even think that this is discrimination — they don’t want to be treated differently.

In my opinion, I think this plan is a good idea. As everyone knows, Seoul can be a very confusing city. Although I’m a Korean and I have lived in a city right next to Seoul for about 20 years, I still have a lot of difficulty finding my way or taking public transportation. I still have problems despite the fact that I have long resided in Korea.

What about foreigners? They might have encountered many more problems than what I’ve gone through. Even though they can take regular cabs whenever they want, it is also hard for them to communicate with taxi drivers.

Maybe some people might think that this is discriminatory. It’s unfair to treat foreigners differently. However, if non-Koreans want to take a regular cab, they can do it whenever they want. That doesn’t cause any problems.

I think this plan is just suitable for foreigners especially those struggling because of the language barrier. So, not only for globalization of Seoul but also for the convenience of foreign tourists as well as residents, it’s necessary that we put this plan into effect immediately.

Shin Su-in, student, Dongduk Women’s University
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