S. Korea raises bus fare to prevent drivers' nationwide strike
Jerry Quill, May 15, 2019, 9:25 a.m.
The government and ruling party on Tuesday decided to raise city bus fares, a day before drivers threatened a nationwide strike over their shortened working week.
The increase will be used to subsidize drivers' pay once their working week is capped at 52 hours in July.
Minister of Land, Transport and Infrastructure Kim Hyun-mee, Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung and Minjoo Party leader Lee Hae-chan met at the National Assembly on Tuesday and decided to raise Gyeonggi Province bus fares by W200 and fares for intercity buses to Seoul by W400 (US$1=W1,189).
City bus fares in South and North Chungcheong and South Gyeongsang provinces will also be hiked before the end of this year.
Intercity buses to and from Seoul will become semi-public under the jurisdiction of the central government, entitled to government subsidies to make up for deficits. In other words, the government will tap into taxpayers' money to deal with the problem.
The transportation minister said, "The semi-public system will boost the public nature of the bus network." And the Gyeonggi governor said, "If we maintain the present system [without raising bus fares], there is a strong chance of routes being cut and bus numbers being downsized, resulting in a lot of inconvenience, so we had no choice but to raise fares."
Other parts of the county are highly likely to follow the suit.