Gangnam Taxi Wars Are Over Thanks to ‘Happy Zones’

Article from Yonhap News:[10/24/2015]

‘Taxi War’ disappears at Gangnam Station… ‘Satisfying’ first day for the ‘Happy Zones’

Taxis in Gangnam Station

‘TGIF’ at a Gangnam Station ‘Happy Zone’ where you can catch a taxi. On the afternoon of October 23rd in the vicinity of Gangnam Station people are catching taxis from the newly installed ‘Happy Zone’ points. On the 21st it was unveiled that from the afternoon of the 23rd until the end of the year, every Friday from 11 p.m. to Saturday 2 a.m. in the 770 meter stretch between Gangnam Station and Shinnonhyeon Station, temporary taxi stops labelled ‘Taxi Happy Zones’ will be in use.

An unusual sight of taxis waiting for customers…. worries over the subsidies, the car numbers records duplicated or omitted.

“You can’t get a taxi here. Do you see the sign that says ‘taxi here’ installed over there? You can catch a taxi there.”

Just after midnight on October 24th people trying to catch a taxi by the roadside near Gangnam Station listen to explanations from guides wearing eye-catching yellow vests and move accordingly.

The city of Seoul has implemented a ‘Taxi Happy Zone’ system from 11 p.m. every Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday, spanning all the way from Gangnam Station to Shinnonhyeon Station.

The Happy Zone system will be enforced until the end of the year, with stops installed at 6 fixed places where taxis can take customers. Although refusal to take customers will be heavily monitored, the scheme allows for the taxi workers’ union to give an incentive of 3,000 KRW [Approx 2.60 USD] to taxi drivers.

The Happy Zones will be operated in 3 places on each side of the road for a total of 6 zones. For the Gangnam to Shinnonhyeon direction, the Happy Zones will be in front of Juno Hair, CGV, and Lotte Cinema; and for the Shinnonhyeon to Gangnam direction the stops will be in front of Giordano, Pagoda, and the Baekahm Building.

In reality the most crowded spots are in front of the CGV and in front of Giordano.

On the previous day when the Happy Zone scheme was operated until 11 p.m. only, there were around 5 people waiting in the Happy Zone waiting for taxis, and there were more taxis than people.

Due to this, one could even witness taxis waiting for customers. There were even empty taxis that had to leave because they could not find customers.

The Friday ‘Taxi War’ where people were queuing and shouting their destination to the taxis drivers for them to stop seems to have disappeared for now.

Ku Byeong-ho (34 years old, company employee) said, “Operating a Happy Zone in this area is a good attempt,” and added that, “Normally I would have to call a taxi from the office but now it is convenient since I can just go out and wait a bit before I get a taxi.”

However, on the 24th of October, after overtime or after drinking past midnight when the number of people wanting to ride back home increases, at 12:20 a.m. in front of the CGV’s Happy Zone or in front of the Giordano’s Happy Zone there were more than 50 people standing in a long line.

Happy Zone in Gangnam

You have to ride a taxi in front of a ‘Happy Zone’. On the 23rd of October in the vicinity of Gangnam Station Seoul citizens are lining up in order to take a taxi at the Happy Zones. From the 23rd of October to the end of the year every Friday from 11pm to the next day 2am from Gangnam Station to Shinnonhyeon Station for about 770m taxi stops called ‘Taxi Happy Zones’ will be operated, as it was revealed on the 21st of October.

There was no shortage of taxis but since people standing in line were riding one group at a time the waiting time got longer. But the reaction to this program is a very welcoming one.

Park Sun-hee (25, female) said, “I did not know that this plan was in service, and the fact that you have to ride at fixed places is a bit limiting but since taxis cannot reject you it actually makes the system a good one” She also explained that, “there is already a similar system in operation at Suwon Station.”

Noh Woo-young (29) said ‘my friend’s home is in the vicinity of Seolleung Station, and it is impossible to take a taxi to go there, but from now you just need to wait a little while and you are guaranteed to get a taxi without getting rejected, so the new system is better.’

But it appears that for the moment the system lacks publicity and there are some weak points in its operation.

A considerable number of taxi drivers were asking guides where they can take customers, and since when this scheme started, and passengers were asking if they could ride taxis from anywhere and then had to move accordingly.

In front of the Happy Zones one could witness guides from the taxi unions noting by hand the taxis’ plate numbers one by one, as the union provides an incentive of 3,000KRW (Approx. 2.60USD) per taxi for doing this.

But as several persons are noting down the numbers, there is a concern that the numbers will be repeated or that some numbers will be omitted.

On top of this, the number of officials that came out as guides on that day as well as persons related to the taxi unions were more than 50, and henceforth the interrogation that this scheme can be maintained until the end of the year has been raised.

Yang Wan-su, manager of the distribution of Seoul taxis, came to the site and explained, “First we have to take care of the situation and its development, and then we will have to examine the methods used to take handwritten records.”

Comments from Naver:

sdra****

Are those 3,000 won are from our taxes, Mr. Mayor?

jdc8****

If the subsidy is coming from taxes then I am really happy not to live in Seoul kekeke Very classy Mr. Mayor kekeke It isn’t really from taxes, right? I really hope it isn’t

chyo****

Reporter, in your ‘Taxi Issues Reports’, improper/wrongful taxi drivers have to leave. But in Seoul there are 255 taxi companies, and of over 12 hours of work, only 5 are acknowledged on the contract, which is the underlying problem behind these issues of overcharging, refusing customers, being unkind, and violating the law.
Even if there are days like Chuseok/Seollal/other public holidays, we still have to work 12 hours per day, 72 hours per week, 26 days per month and 310 days per year, and without any additional pay for our meals, and we still need to hand out the money to the taxi company. There is no extra pay for Chuseok/Seollal. We need arbitration from the government and the local government if you want us to stop being so exhausted and fed up. The improper/wrongful taxi companies also need to be shut down.

kjm4****

But why does it have to be called “Happy Zone”? Even after making a holiday for Hangul [the Korean writing system], it’s a complete waste of time. We still use English for no reason at all, it’s pathetic.

bsbh****

There is no money to buy more trains for line 9, but there is money for the taxis…

long****

Tell me again whose money are we using to pay 3 thousand won for each person who goes home [late] after drinking?

bat7****

Pig out and play like crazy and go home conveniently. And we are giving out our taxes… A country like ours ought to be rare

logi****

Just make the customer spend 3,000 won more… Why does it have to be Seoul citizens that have no part in the situation who have to pay up?

comv****

With 3,000 won you can buy a round-way pass on public transportation… Just cancelling licences of taxi drivers that refuse customers should do it. Instead wasting the tax payers precious money and it’d be easy for the mayor to do. They create no measure to solve the fundamental problem and just try to solve everything with money. Tsk tsk.

hide****

Why don’t we use this money to run the subways and buses at night….

flys****

Why? Using money for the people drinking and going home? Park Won-soon your behavior is detestable. Is this your money? Is it okay to use the people’s taxes in this manner? If there is something left over from Seoul citizens’ tax money, just return it to us. I cannot even think of paying taxes to a person like you. Let’s see what happens at the next election. Using other’s money for your credit, you made your point. Park Won-soon, this guy. Like a beggar, you only have debts, and no real money. I can’t stand the sight of your stupid face. Where are all the ghosts[/demons]? Why haven’t you taken this sleazeball away yet?

Share This Article
Help us maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is accessible and enjoyable to the majority of our readers. Please review our Comment Policy »
  • hardyandtiny

    The taxi union is a government sponsored union?

  • Hwang Dongseong

    what the fxxx of subsidy? just allow Uber. Free market will resolve it.

  • CoreanoNoChino

    Like always South Korea system at fault.

  • commander

    Taxi cabbers’ ride refusals that have been widely criticized reveals there is a long way for Seoul to go as a metropolitan city of global renown.

    The adoption of Happy Zones, a description acknowledging unhappiness Seoulites have ever underwent when they were turned down from taxi drivers, especially on a chilly winter night, is a welcome move.

    The problem is about its duration and persistence of its effect after expiration of a trial period.

    Subsidization for taxi drivers for each ride irrespective of passenger destinations in the specially designsted areas raises the inequality question between Seoul and other regional taxi drivers, if subsidization is sourced from tax revenue.

    • Anon

      I was going to ask why they didn’t just call a taxi rank, y’know, a taxi rank, but I think you’ve answered that well.

  • SeoulPeninsula

    Go home early.

  • norimix1

    Korea needs UBER…

Personals @ chinaSMACK - Meet people, make friends, find lovers? Don't be so serious!»