Fare dodgers cost rail lines 4 billion won every year

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Fare dodgers cost rail lines 4 billion won every year

Nearly 300,000 people a year ride Korea’s trains illegally without paying fares, and it’s costing the government 4.1 billion won ($3.7 million) annually.

Korail, the national railroad operator, caught 1.09 million people riding trains without paying the appropriate fares from the beginning of 2013 to August 2016, Saenuri Party lawmaker Chung Yong-ki said on Friday.

The majority of the riders, or 98.8 percent of those who were caught, rode trains with no tickets. Some illegally used tickets for children or the disabled. Losses from such passengers amounted to 258.3 million won.

Others bought tickets bound for closer train stops than their actual destination. For example, Chung said some passengers were caught traveling from Seoul to Busan by just buying tickets to Daejeon, which is about a midway through the trip. Around 2,720 such cases were found, worth 25.23 million won.

Korail has seen its profit drop 15 billion won in three years, or 4.1 billion won a year on average.

Most of those who were caught were riding the Mugunghwa line, the relatively slower and cheaper trains, Chung said. Officials caught 573,145 illegal riders on the Mugunghwa line, 290,811 on KTX and 156,762 on the Semaeul line.

May was the month that the most passengers were caught trying to ride illegally. There were 102,299 illegal riders in May, when more riders travel by train due to good weather and there are more holidays compared to other months.

There were 83,506 cases in October, 81,976 in November and 80,923 in April.

Chung has called for measures to reduce the number of those traveling without paying full fare.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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