No Standing Rule Implemented on Korean Intercity Buses

Article from Asia Economy:

The first day the no standing rule in intercity buses is implemented. People were “fidgeting” vs the local officials say it “went well”

intercity buses

A no standing rule on Korean intercity buses was adopted on July 16. A bus stop in front of Geonggyi is the spot where most intercity buses pass by on the way from Suwon to central Seoul area including Gangnam. Bus 3001, 3002, and 3007 head to Gangnam after passing Yeongdong highway, East Suwon IC and Gyeongbu highway. Bus 8800 goes to Seoul Station. Bus 7001 heads for Sadang. This bus stop is a gateway in Suwon for those heading to Seoul.

There are usually many passengers standing on the bus because of the lack of available seats. On July 16th, many passengers were crowded around the stop waiting to take a bus. At least more than 40 people were standing in line, and the long line didn’t move quickly. This is because buses passing by this spot usually stop more than 10 times including Yeongtong in Suwon, Gwanggyo, and Suwon Nambu Bus terminal. Many buses didn’t stop, showing a sign saying ‘no seats’ on the front door of the bus.

Some passengers noted the situation was “grave” and paid 6000 for a cab to go to Suwon station to take the subway. Some people complained about the implementation of the no standing rule in intercity buses.

Fifty-two year old Mr. Oh complained saying “The situation is serious as there are more people standing than sitting on buses in Suwon, Seongnam, and Yongin during the morning and evening rush hour. The government might think it can solve the problems caused by the no standing rule by raising the number of buses and shortening the intervals between buses, but I find the bureaucracy absurd.”

In Gyeonggi-do, 1390 intercity buses adopted the no standing rule. 35 million people use these buses every day, and among them, 98,000 people take the intercity bus during rush hour. The province estimates that a quarter of the 1.2 million ~ 1.3 million people using the bus during rush hour are taking no standing buses every day. By region, Yongin came in first with the most no standing buses, 400 buses in 35 routes. It is followed by Suwon, which has 232 buses in 14 routes, and Seongnam, with 121 buses in 12 routes.

Prior to implementing the measure, Gyeonggi-do came up with alternative measures such as adding 188 buses, focusing on the rush hour routes, shortening the interval between buses, etc. After a one month period observing the problems caused by the no standing rule, they will take additional measures. Gyong-pil Nam, the Governor of Gyeonggi Province, took bus 8201 from Suji in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do to Gangnam during rush hour at 8:00 AM for the site inspection.

An official of the province said “According to the official who inspected the site, as well as people involved in the bus industry, there are many reports that the system seems to be working well. At the site, during rush hour, buses were flexible and allowed some people who were in a rush to stand on the bus.”

He also said “In the case of Maseok in Euijeongbu, where many commuters live, there are no problems in adding more buses during rush hour. Hui-gyeom Kim,the vice-governor, even encouraged people.”

At 3:00 PM on July 16th, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport discussed additional measures regarding the no standing policy with the chief of traffic in Gyeong-gi, Seoul, and Incheon.

Comments from Naver:

Aren’t they supposed to add enough buses before implementing the policy..?


This shows the level of the politicians. So much bureaucracy. What is it that’s going well?


It must’ve been going well because buses don’t have to stop if no seats are available!!!


Is the system working well if you have to wait for 40 mins? Have you waited for a bus for that long under the hot sun? From Sadang to my place it would take about 2 hours. I would quit my job.


The answer is the double-decker bus.


The person who implemented this policy must drive his own car to work while blasting AC, and be the only one to think his idea is so great.


Such politicians will drive their own cars, however for students, buses are the only option and time is money. I’ve wasted my time waiting for a bus and now I need to wait longer because of this policy. Why don’t you take a bus? It really pisses me off. Even if I’m standing on a bus, I just want to go home and go to bed.


Is it supposed to be ‘creative economy’ that induces people to take a cab not a bus?


It’s clear that we need a no standing rule because of safety problems. However, what kind of situation is this? The right measure should be the one that the passengers want. What have they done without proper additional plans? Don’t say anything thoughtlessly just because you don’t personally have any discomforts.


Governor Nam Gyeong-pil, where did you take a bus in Suji? If you wanted a real site inspection, you should’ve taken a bus at the very last stop in Meonae, right before entering the highway. If you took a bus from there, you still wouldn’t have arrived at Gangnam yet.


You would never create this kind of law if you’ve ever ridden a bus.


If the government creates a law where there are no consequences for people who are late to work because of this no standing rule, people will be less worried.


Now if all the passengers drive their own cars, the government will tell them to use public transportation.


Ke ke ke, it was implemented by those who don’t even know how much they have to pay for the bus. What do you expect? I don’t know for how long people should experience inconvenience.


There’s an answer. Let’s sit in the isles. Then it isn’t standing, is it?


No matter how I look at it, this is bullshit.


So I guess ordinary people take something like the bus? It’s interesting. Why do you care about the policy? If I’m late, I usually take my own helicopter. Ordinary people seem to be uncomfortable. I will experience life as an ordinary person this weekend. ^^ I can try taking the metro and a bus. I’ll be happy to do that for my experience no matter how hard it is. ^^ It’s 70 won for the metro, right?


The starting position of buses should be different. Some buses leaving from Suji are already packed when they arrive in Suwon. Some buses should leave from places where people have a hard time getting to work without using the metro.


Why did Nam Gyeong-pil ride with others on the bus when seats were limited during rush hour? Because of him, there might have been at least five people who couldn’t take bus to work.

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  • x1sfg

    Hooray, government over reach. The commentor is right, a law made by people who have never ridden a bus.

  • Dominic ‘Dom’ Dinkins

    People don’t like the law, but this is one of those things where the government can’t win. Put in the law now, people are pissed because it takes too long to get to work. However, if a major accident happened, and there were more casualties because of the many people standing, people would be berating the government for not implementing a no standing policy.

    • Chucky3176

      No. Put in a sensible law, not put in something thought straight out of a comatose “I got a bright ideal” moment.

      How about putting a new bus law which fines the bus company for too many dangerous drivings? How about cracking down on speeding buses? How about revamping the law so that the bus companies don’t underpay their hard working bus drivers by how many routes you can do in an hour? How about reeducating the bus drivers to drive in a civilized manners like the other OECD countries, to not treat the bus routes as an Indie 500 course?

      How about stop putting in these worthless cosmetic laws that don’t do anything other then inconvenience the people and make the passengers just more grumpy and tired, and go after the real solutions to the problem? How about stopping with these “hey look, we’re doing something here, to make us look good” laws?

      • John I.B.C. Madison

        Bus companies already get fined a ton and get their license to operate revoked for unsafe practices. Yet they get back at it after it’s all over, because their finances are always in a shit hole because of high operating cost and low fares. There are too many bus operators in the city for the city regulators can’t keep a tab on every single one of them. And you can’t crack down on speeding buses when you drive full buses all day long and people need to get to work. And you can’t force these bus companies to add more buses and drivers because these companies are already operating on razor thin margins, and they won’t be able to add more buses and improve service even if they wanted to. And any government regulations to increase bus drivers’ wages will be futile because the labor market for bus drivers is already saturated all the way to hell because bus driving is seen as a steady and (ironically) desirable job. Drastic increase on wage floor is only going to put more drivers out of work and reduce quality of service. There’s no point hoping the drivers and companies will correct their own behavior and the government to come up with “good regulations”, when the whole system (by no fault of just one party) is set up to incentivize bad (but necessary to meet transit demand) behaviors by everyone. What needs to happen is the riders need to stop bitching about fare hikes and take on their fair share and the government needs to use their own funds to add more bus lines, come up with alternative modes of intra- and inter-city commuting, and increase affordable housing stocks inside the city. But that’s not gonna happen either unless the city government gets more regulatory and tax autonomy from the national government run by retarded conservative politicians and when it doesn’t have to fight every other area of Korea for transportation budget.

    • 공공

      You must be mistaking this government (or any for that matter) as one that has balls…

  • Nimble Fink

    If you have ever ridden an inter city (or metro bus) in Korea then I think that you would have to agree that the over arching idea behind this is good. Bus drivers are famous for tailgating, leaving no following distance, abruptly changing lanes etc. With people standing in the aisle its just a recipe for disaster. Last winter I was on one of the late night buses from Hongdae to Gimpo and the driver had to slam on his brakes for whatever reason and 10 people in the aisle went flying. Poor kid near the front took the brunt of it and got hurt.

    Of course measures should have been put in place to make sure delays were kept to a minimum. But that isn’t the Korean style. Haphazardly throw a new policy out there and hope it works. Then act surprised when shit hits the fan.
    I also noticed drivers on the intercity buses started making announcements to “please put your seat belts on” after the sewol sinking. Now, not so much.

    • John I.B.C. Madison

      It’s not the “Korean style”.

      That’s just what happens in a city with one of the world’s highest density and one of the world’s most extensive and complex public transportation system.

      When you have tens of thousands of buses flowing within and in and out of the city on a tight schedule, that’s just what you get. Don’t expect things to be as orderly and perfect as some rich suburb. You don’t talk about the “American style” when the G train derails over and over again in NYC or cabbies rob passengers hundred times a year and nothing gets solved. There are inevitable costs to living in a giant city that is a complex mechanism with thousands of independent nodes that can’t be controlled by the government simultaneously. It’s a national past time for Koreans to bitch, moan and self-flagellate themselves about the their incompetent government when in reality the government does all it can with the finite resource it has, and there’s no need for more people to join in on this idiotic, self-defeating tendency.

      If anything what the government is doing badly is solving the issue of affordable housing inside the city, which forces people to commute from satellite cities around Seoul. But that’s no easy task either when you have to deal with one of highest per capita demand for housing in the world in a finite amount of land.

  • commander

    No matter how well prepared a plan is, there are inevitably complaints after the plan is executed as the public is too much used to conventional systems.

    Leadership is demonstrated in two aspects when complaints are mounting and the pressure to scrap the new plan builds upon.

    The first is to devise measures to counter unexpected side effect after implementation, and the second is to convince some skeptics to recognize the necessity of the new rule–the ensured safety of passengers on long-distance buses in this case.

    In this regard, although there is initial discomfort upon the enforcement of the fresh rule, it appears to be successful on a whole.

  • MericaRules

    “Is it supposed to be “creative economy” that induces people to take a cab not a bus?”

    I really have to ask how many Koreans actually buy into this “creative economy” gimmick from the Korean government. I am asking this, because it is evident that South Korea does not have the sufficient resources to invest heavily into their own revolutionary ideas and innovations, in any shape or form. Instead, they just seem to rip off of other existing ideas and innovations from other developed nations, still favoring more of a Machiavellian approach. I suppose this may take time, but hopefully the government start thinking critically about the societal issues and not just implement policies, thinking on short-terms, just like in this article.

    Then again, the antediluvian educational policy and politics of South Korea could all be just manipulative tools designed to effectively control the Koreans for their own selfish agenda (like all governments have). This could mean that the Korean government are not much in favor of free thought or radical changes as a means of progress for the nation, but hope that majority of the populace turn out to be mindless drones working for their own (government’s) selfish motives. Maybe they never had the welfare of their own people in their minds, which is why they are consistently failing to make significant societal changes. Who knows.

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