Bus riders will have to buckle up

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Bus riders will have to buckle up

All passengers on public buses will have to fasten their seat belts and drivers will need a professional public bus license in the near future, according to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs yesterday.

The ministry said the changes are intended to improve safety on the public buses.

Bus drivers will be required to pass two licensing tests: a written driving aptitude test and a driving skill test.

Previously, all that was required was passing the common test to drive trucks, coach buses and shuttle buses.

The new test system will take effect August 12.

In addition, all passengers will be required to fasten seat belts while the bus is moving.

The ministry noted that many passengers are killed or injured in accidents because they were not wearing their seat belts.

It said that bus drivers will be fined 100,000 won ($85.3) and owners of the bus corporations 500,000 won if passengers are found with their seat belts unfastened.

The new policy will be implemented starting Nov. 24.

Small shuttle buses running in rural areas - farming and fishing villages - are excluded from the seat belt policy, the ministry said.

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

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