Buses, taxis to make riders buckle up

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Buses, taxis to make riders buckle up

All passengers on public buses and taxis will have to fasten their seat belts, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said in revised laws that will be implemented from Nov. 24.

According to the revised laws, all passengers taking public buses, including long distance intracity (blue buses) and express intercity buses (red buses), and taxis must buckle up while the vehicles are in operation.

Buses owned or rented by travel agencies or corporations will be affected by the law, too. The ministry said intracity village buses (green buses) that travel a short distance in a particular region and small shuttle buses are excluded from the plan.

Under the revised law, drivers must notify all passengers to put on their seat belts before departure at designated stopovers and also must check that passengers are wearing seat belts.

The ministry said people who have physical concerns such as pregnant women and injured, disabled or overweight people will not be forced to buckle up.

Once a passenger is found not wearing a seat belt in a bus or taxi, the driver of the vehicle will be subject to a 100,000 won ($88) fine and the corporation that manages the vehicle will be subject to a 500,000 won fine.

Passengers will not be punished, the ministry said. The transport business operators are also forced to provide education programs that instruct drivers how to implement the seat belt regulations at least once quarterly.

The ministry said local police and officials from district offices will monitor violations.

The new rules, however, are unwelcomed by the transportation industry, especially with taxis.

“The ministry doesn’t know the reality,” said Hong Myung-ho, from the Korea National Joint Conference of Taxi Association. “If we ask drunken passengers to buckle up, a fight will break out.”

By Kwon Sang-soo, Kim Han-byul [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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