A trip on subway line No. 9 might cost more

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A trip on subway line No. 9 might cost more

The government is trying to prevent a rate hike on subway line No. 9 proposed by the private company that owns the line.

The city government said on Monday that the new fare system announced by the Seoul Metro Line9 Corporation can’t be approved by the city government and is only a measure dictated by the corporation.

“Though line No. 9 was built by private investment, the new fare system can’t be changed without authorization from the Seoul mayor,” said Yoon Jun-byeong, a spokesman for the city government, during a press conference held at City Hall.

“We regret that the metro corporation announced such a statement without any consultation with the city government, because they are misleading Seoul citizens.”

On Saturday, the corporation released on their official Web site that the base fare for the subway, which runs between Gaehwa Station and Sinnonhyeon Station, will be increased from 1,050 won ($0.92) to 1,550 won from June 15.

The corporation has explained to citizens that the adjustment was necessary because they need to make up financial losses that they have been accruing since 2009.

“We need to generate more revenue so we can pay for our electricity bills and pay off the investment costs that we borrowed from banks to build the line,” Seoul Metro Line9 said.

“We have been negotiating for the new fare system with the city government for a long time but failed, so we were forced to introduce the new fare system autonomously.”

The corporation said that adult passengers will be charged 1,550 won with the T-money transportation card and an extra 100 won will be charged when passengers opt to pay in cash, while the fare for students between 13 years old and 18 years old will be increased from 720 won to 1,120 won.

The city government said the matter should not be up for discussion as the fare increase from last February should be enough.

The city said the corporation is trying to gain an advantage over the new fare adjustment.

“They already know that the new fare system can be implemented if it doesn’t get approved by the city government,” Yoon said. “We already have given about 20 billion won in subsidies to the corporation since 2009 so that citizens using line No. 9 won’t have to pay out of pocket. We will resolve the problem as soon as possible.”

However, Seoul Metro Line9 said that the contract signed with the city government in 2005 guarantees that they can increase the fare up to 1,850 won this year, hinting that they may file an administrative lawsuit if the city government doesn’t expand the subsidies or approve the new fare system.

By Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]
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