How much do you use public transportation? It differs by every person, but it remains a common fact for each and every one of us that public transportation is an indispensable service that people can’t do without. Perhaps, it’s because public transportation has been so naturally accepted into peoples’ daily lives, that we’ve never actually once took a chance to evaluate its positive and negative sides. One doesn’t notice the smell of the air they breathe because they’re too used to it. There is a need to check if the smell has gone bad, thus the same for whether the public transportation is still fulfilling its duty at a satisfactory level up to this day. The Sookmyung Times (SMT) felt a need to confront the current public transportation, and so asked students for their opinions.
SMT How often do you use public transportation? Also, what is your average monthly transportation cost?
JIWON I use public transportation around 8~10 times a week, including the trips back and forth, and I use around 40,000 won per month.
HUIJAE About 2 to 3 times a day, and 5 days a week. I use around 120,000 won per month for my public transportation costs.
SREYPOV I use the subway 4 times a week, and use about 16,000 won each month for the subway fares.
TRANG I take public transportation about 10 times a week, and spend between 30,000 won and 40,000 won per month.
SMT All of you aren’t from Seoul. What parts are similar and what parts are different between Seoul public transportation and the one back at your home town?
JIWON Compared to the public transportation in Jeju, where I spent my school days, there are a lot more bus routes here in Seoul and the time intervals between each bus is much shorter. Also, in Jeju you don’t have to place your bus card on the checking machine before you get off, whereas in Seoul you need to. There aren’t any subways in Jeju.
HUIJAE From where I come from, there are only buses. The similarity between the two systems is that we can use T-money cards in both cities. However, in Seoul you have to get off at a designated bus stop, while in Haenam you can ask the bus driver to stop wherever you need to get off.
SREYPOV I used to always ride my motorcycle when I went to school back in Cambodia. The majority rode motorcycles instead of using public transportation. However, those who were relatively more financially troubled had to use buses.
TRANG There aren’t any subways in the capital city of Vietnam (Hanoi). Most often they use their own motorcycles, and sometimes buses, too.
SMT In terms of safety, convenience, facilities and so forth, do you have a positive point of view or a negative point of view towards Seoul’s public transportation? Please state your reasons as well.
JIWON I have very positive thoughts of Seoul’s public transportation. First of all, I feel it’s very convenient that you can practically go anywhere you want by just transferring a few stations. I believe that public transportation has helped lessen Seoul’s traffic congestion. Also, the facilities are agreeable and contribute as a whole towards preventing environmental pollution.
HUIJAE I find the facilities pleasant and comfortable. However, I believe that the buses are unsafe in the sense that many passengers walk up into the street to get on the buses, and sometimes the bus drivers forget to close the door before going.
SREYPOV I like Seoul’s public transportation. It’s fast and safe. Also, the directions help us easily find our way towards where we want to go. However, the fact that there are too many people and that it’s stuffy inside the subways is a minus factor.
TRANG I have a positive point of view, and here are the reasons. First of all, the buses and subways here are fast and always on time. Secondly, the fares are cheap. Finally, the etiquette regarding seats and the usage of public transportation is well organized.
SMT Starting from this February, the bus and subway fares have increased by 150 won. Many complain about the increase in costs of a public good. What is your opinion on this?
JIWON I am slightly opposed towards the increase. Lots of students use public transportation, and this increase would make their financial burdens even heavier than they already are. Also, I am a bit skeptic of whether the facilities or services are actually improving after they’ve increased the fares. If there were to be another raise in the future, I hope that they would clearly state their reasons and promise us a better transportation service in a more specific manner.
HUIJAE I can somewhat understand their decision to raise the public transportation costs. If they didn’t increase the costs of public goods, then surely they would have increased the amount of some other tax of ours that we have to pay. However, I find it unfair for the people who are barely earning a living for themselves and have no choice but to use public transportation.
SREYPOV I’m dissatisfied about the change. The people who mostly use public transportation are the elderly and students who are financially less supported. The increase in fares would put more pressure on these people.
TRANG I think negatively about the increase in the public transportation costs. I need to use it all the time to go to work and earn money, and now I need to pay more for the transportation expenses.