Seoul will raise taxi flagfalls by 25% or more

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Seoul will raise taxi flagfalls by 25% or more

The basic fare for taxis in Seoul is going up for the first time since 2009.

According to sources in the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the current basic fare for Seoul taxis, which is 2,400 won ($2.15), will be increased by 400 to 600 won, or up to 25 percent, and possibly even more.

The city government said it will announce the exact amount of the increase Aug. 27. It added that the announcement could be delayed for a few days.

Labor unions for Seoul taxi drivers and the association of Seoul-based taxi companies agreed Thursday to increase drivers’ wages by 21.5 percent. With that increase, drivers affiliated with taxi companies will earn an additional average of 260,000 won per month, bringing the average monthly wage to 1.52 million won.

“We estimate that the basic fare will be set between 2,800 won and 3,000 won, but it might be over 3,000 won,” a spokesman for the city government said. “Because taxi drivers’ wages account for more than 50 percent of taxi companies’ total costs, that increase will be reflected in the new fare.”

This will be the first fare hike since 2009, when the basic fare was increased from 1,900 won to 2,400 won, or by 26.3 percent.

Many other local governments increased taxi fares earlier this year. Starting with the Busan government in January, major cities including Daegu, Gwangju and Daejeon have increased basic fares by 600 won, or from 2,200 won to 2,800 won.

“I think the adjustment is necessary because gas prices, which have increased in the last few years, haven’t been reflected in the current fare structure,” Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said on a radio show in June. “The fare in Seoul is now relatively lower than in other major cities.”

The city government is also considering changes to night fares. The current system was started in January 1982 and allows taxis to increase the basic fare by 20 percent between midnight and 4 a.m.

The city government wants to change the starting time for night fares to 11 p.m.

“The change in the night charges is our last detail to solve,” a spokesman for the city government said.

BY KWON SANG-SOO [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]
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