Taxi prices to go up on Feb. 16Starting on Feb. 16, it will cost at least 800 won ($0.71) more to take a cab in Seoul.
The base price for taxi rides in Seoul is rising from 3,000 won to 3,800 won from next Saturday, the Seoul city government said Wednesday.
“That’s the rate for daytime rides,” it said in its statement. “For late-night rides, from midnight to 4 a.m., the starting fee will be adjusted from 3,600 won to 4,600 won.”
The distance rate will also rise. Riders will have to pay 100 won per 132 meters (433 feet) traveled instead of the previous 142 meters, and 100 won per 31 seconds of the ride instead of the previous 100 won per 35 seconds rate.
The rates for deluxe black cabs will also rise from 5,000 won to 6,500 won. The fare will rise 200 won per 151 meters traveled instead of the previous 164 meters; it will also rise to 200 won per 36 seconds, instead of the previous 39 seconds rate.
The hike in cab fees is a first in Seoul since 2013, when the starting fare rose from 2,400 won to 3,000 won. The new rates will officially go into place at 4 a.m. on Feb. 16.
There may be confusion in the cabs in the first few days as not all 70,000 registered cabs in Seoul may have the adjusted rates ready on their taximeters on Feb. 16.
“For about 10 days starting from Feb. 16, we will be adjusting the taximeters on some 70,000 cabs in Seoul to apply the new rates,” the city government said in its statement.
“During this time, the cab drivers will have a signboard explaining the new rates and the customers are to pay according to the new rates if the taximeter of the cab has not been fixed at that point.”
The Seoul city government said the hike in the cab fare is meant to support the welfare of cab drivers. The city government will also freeze for six months the amount of money that company cab drivers have to turn over to their employers. This amount usually ranges from 140,000 won to 150,000 won.
“This price hike will be a relief to many cab drivers,” said Jeong Ji-gu, head of the Seoul office of the Korean Federation of Taxi Workers’ Unions. “We are glad to hear about the six-month freeze on the earnings turned over to companies.”
“The past five years were difficult years for some cab drivers, as the fares remained frozen,” said Kim Chung-sik, the CEO of OK Taxi, a taxi company based in Seoul.
“Many drivers quit in those years. I expect the increase in cab fares should help the drivers’ welfare, which should improve the quality of their services.”
Customers had mixed reactions to the higher prices.
“The hike is higher than I expected,” said Seo Hyung-jin, a 32-year-old office worker. “I probably won’t take cabs as often.”
“With the rise in cab fares, more people will expect better services,” said Kim Jung-eun, a 35-year-old woman.
“It’s so hard to catch cabs during the late-night hours. Some of them need to stop refusing rides to customers.”
BY ESTHER CHUNG, LIM SUN-YOUNG [email@example.com]