Ban on standing on buses leads to lengthy waits

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Ban on standing on buses leads to lengthy waits

Transportation authorities yesterday decided to suspend a trial of a policy banning passengers from standing on the red buses that run between Seoul and surrounding cities after many passengers complained.

“We will prolong the monitoring period of test-operation for the area that caused much inconveniences,” said Seo Seoung-hwan, minister of land, infrastructure and transport yesterday at a meeting at the Sejong Government Complex with Lee Hyun-jae, vice president of the ruling Saenuri Party’s policy committee, and Lee Woo-hyun and Ha Tae-keung, Saenuri lawmakers on the National Assembly’s Land, Infrastructure and Transport Committee, according to Yonhap News Agency yesterday.

Last Wednesday, the Transport Ministry began a month-long trial of a new policy to ban passengers standing in red buses, leading to an avalanche of complaints from passengers who were unable to get on buses as a result.

Although local governments and bus operators increased the number of buses during commuting hours, buses filled with passengers had to go past bus stops without stopping, especially stops near the entrances of expressways. Many passengers waited much longer than usual.

Intercity buses used to accept standing passengers, though the practice is illegal as all passengers are required to fasten seat belts on expressways.

The meeting came after the ruling Saenuri Party brought up the issue Sunday through its mobile political party committee, “Crazy Party.”

Saenuri lawmaker Ha Tae-keung and Saenuri public relations headquarters chief Cho Dong-won, who led the launch of Crazy Party, held a press conference Sunday at the party’s office in Yeouido, western Seoul, and requested the Land Ministry to “apologize to the public for its poor implementation of policies” and “put off implementing the policy until the government come up with proper measures.”

Crazy Party’s operators agreed that banning standing on red buses was hasty and decided to collect public opinion on its website (http://www.crazyparty.or.kr/). Nearly 90 percent of 500 respondents answered the government should start over again with the policy.

“The ministry will try to settle the new policy as early as possible in cooperation with Seoul, Gyeonggi and Incheon, which are operating intercity buses in the metropolitan area,” Seo added.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]




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