Seoul City will introduce a transportation card next year that allows unlimited use of the subway, city buses, village buses, and public bicycles for just 65,000 won per month. The government will introduce ‘K Pass’ in the second half of next year, which provides discounts on public transportation fares from 20% to up to 53%. Around the same time, two systems emerged that allowed citizens using public transportation to receive discounts, competing against each other.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport is said to be unfavorable to the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s policy, which was announced later than the K Pass. Busan City, which introduced an integrated public transportation discount system before Seoul, is trying to combine its own discount system with the government’s K Pass. The city of Seoul still has the task of appeasing opposition from Gyeonggi Province and Incheon City.
Three weeks before the announcement of the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s ‘Climate Companion Card’, the government and ruling party announced the ‘K Pass’
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon held a press conference at Seoul City Hall on the 11th and announced that he would launch the ‘ Climate Card ‘, an unlimited public transportation ticket, next year. It will be piloted from January to May next year, then supplemented and implemented in earnest from the second half of next year.
Transportation that can be used with this card includes the Seoul subway, city/village buses, and Ttareungi. You can use the subway when getting on and off within downtown Seoul on all lines except the Shinbundang Line, which has different basic fares. You can also use it when boarding in Seoul and getting off in other areas such as Gyeonggi or Incheon, but boarding is not possible. Buses from other regions or metropolitan buses with different base fares cannot be used even within the Seoul area. Seoul City also plans to expand the Han River ‘River Bus’, which is scheduled to begin operation in September next year.
Prior to this, the People Power Party and the government announced on the 22nd of last month that they would introduce the ‘K Pass’ in July next year, which allows users to use the subway and bus integratedly and receive discounts to reduce transportation costs. K Pass is a system that provides a refund of up to 216,000 won per year, up to a limit of 60 times per month, if you use public transportation such as subways and buses more than 21 times per month.
Based on the basic Seoul city bus fare of 1,500 won, a discount of 300 won per ride per month is provided. If you use Seoul city buses 21 times a month, you will receive 6,300 won back. The K Pass discount is 20%, but depending on your income level, you can receive a discount of up to 53%. For young people who receive a 30% discount, the refund benefit increases up to 324,000 won per year, and for low-income people who receive a 53% discount, the refund benefit increases up to 576,000 won per year. For this reason, some are pointing out that the government and the Seoul Metropolitan Government may be introducing similar policies separately.
Mayor Oh said, “Citizens can decide which one is more economically useful,” adding, “I believe that the Climate Companion Card will provide more convenience in the metropolitan area. Since the K Pass is available in other regions other than the metropolitan area, its utility is expected to be different. “Both can be compatible,” he said.
Unlike Seoul, Busan City, which was the first in the country to introduce an integrated public transportation discount system, is prioritizing consultation with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Busan City has been implementing the ‘Dongbaek Pass’, an integrated public transportation discount system, since last month. This is a system that provides refunds of up to 45,000 won for excess fares if you use city buses or urban railways more than 30 times a month and the fare exceeds 45,000 won.
If Busan citizens use public transportation 21 to 36 times a month, the K Pass is advantageous, and if they use public transportation more than 37 times, the Dongbaek Pass is advantageous. Busan City’s position is that it will actively discuss with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport so that people can receive K Pass benefits from 21 to 36 times, and Dongbaek Pass benefits after 37 times.
Gyeonggi “Actively participate in K Pass project” Incheon “Overlap with K Pass must be eliminated”
The metropolitan area is extensively connected to railways and buses. Many Gyeonggi-do and Incheon citizens commute to Seoul every day, but there is a problem with the Climate Companion Card introduced by Seoul City in that discount benefits can only be received within Seoul. Seoul City said it would continue discussions with Gyeonggi-do and Incheon City, but Gyeonggi-do and Incheon City opposed it.
Regarding Seoul City’s ‘Climate Companion Card’, Gyeonggi Province said, “The plan to launch the ‘integrated transfer commuter pass’ announced by Seoul City was a unilateral announcement without prior consultation with neighboring local governments such as Gyeonggi and Incheon,” and said that the three local governments’ working council should review the introduction plan. did.
In a press release distributed by Gyeonggi Province, Transportation Director Kim Sang-soo said, “We clearly express regret over the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s unilateral effort to address transportation issues in the metropolitan area of 26 million people without prior consultation.” In addition, he said, “Seoul recently ‘passed’ the opinions of Gyeonggi-do and Incheon on transportation issues in the metropolitan area, such as unilaterally announcing the ‘10-minute re-counting of the Seoul subway’ policy even though the settlement issue between Gyeonggi-do and Incheon was not properly discussed.”
However, Director Kim said, “I agree with the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s position” on the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s launch of the ‘Integrated Transfer Pass’ to alleviate transportation inconveniences for citizens in the metropolitan area. At the same time, he said, “Gyeonggi Province was also internally reviewing a plan to introduce an integrated transfer commuter pass and plans to actively participate in the K Pass project announced by the government.”
Incheon City also distributed a press release that day and expressed ‘regret’. Incheon City said, “I agree with Seoul’s purpose of operating an ‘integrated transfer commuter pass,’ but I am concerned about the unilateral announcement of the implementation of an integrated transfer commuter pass,” and added, “The transportation problem in the metropolitan먹튀검증 area, which is tied to the communal living area, is a problem that Incheon, Seoul, and Gyeonggi must solve together.”
Incheon City also mentioned the government’s K Pass project. Incheon City Transportation Director Kim Jun-seong said, “The K-Pass project, a government-wide public transportation support project promoted by jointly investing national and local funds, is scheduled to be implemented nationwide next year.” He said, “It is appropriate to resolve the issue of overlap with the K Pass system and discuss and jointly negotiate additional budget requirements.”
In response to the opposition from Gyeonggi-do and Incheon City, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said, “The ‘Climate Companion Card’ is a pilot project that allows unlimited use of public transportation within the Seoul area with the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s own budget.” In order to resolve the inconvenience of residents in the metropolitan area, he held a meeting with officials from Gyeonggi-do and Incheon City on the 7th and proposed a plan to expand the area covered by the Climate Companion Card to the metropolitan area. “We will actively consider measures to be implemented jointly by the metropolitan area,” he said.
Korea Railroad Corporation (KORAIL), which operates Seoul’s urban railway along with the Seoul Transportation Corporation, also expressed a negative stance. KORAIL operates some sections of Seoul Metropolitan Subway Lines 1, 3, and 4, as well as the Gyeongui-Jungang Line, Bundang Line, and Gyeongchun Line. The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that it had been discussed to compensate for transportation losses in the KORAIL operation section within the Seoul area. He continued, “For KORAIL operation sections outside of Seoul, we will encourage participation through working-level consultative bodies, just like Gyeonggi Province and Incheon City.”