Semi-Public Bus System
What is the semi-public bus system?
- The semi-public bus system – the nation’s first operating system – was introduced by Seoul in July 2004 under the project to reform the city bus system. It is a dual system combining private operation with public management by the municipal government or public enterprises.
- The semi-public bus system takes its core as amplification of infrastructures, such as reformation of the bus route system, connection with information technology, the total transfer discount plan, vehicles, the bus stops and bus lanes.
- Revenue generated under the semi-public bus system is being controlled together, and the total cost (annual updating of standard cost by the citizens’ bus policy committee)-income shortfall is covered by the city’s budget.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the semi-public bus system?
- Since the adoption of the new system, citizens’ benefits have increased due to reduced competition between bus companies, improved treatment of employees, and the newly introduced evaluation and incentive systems.
- Traffic accidents have decreased by 49% since 2004 (1,944 accidents in 2004 → 988 accidents in 2013), and citizens’ satisfaction has improved by 32% (59.2 points in 2006 → 78.1 points in 2013). KRW 2 trillion and 994.8 billion of discounts have been given to the citizens for bus transfer.
- These great results have been spread to Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, and Incheon, the main cities in Korea, and the system has been well received by overseas critics, receiving the Metropolis Award and UITP recognition as well as serving as a role model for public transportation systems in many other countries including Taiwan and Indonesia.
- Recently, on the 10th anniversary of the quasi-public operation system, the Seoul metropolitan government is finding a new alternative through active communication with citizens in order to make an upgrade into a more effective and reasonable system.
Financial Support for Maeul (village) Buses
Unlike the intra-city bus service, Maeul bus companies are private enterprises. However, Maeul buses are being run with the support of the city government because they constitute one of the core means of public transportation in Seoul.
- Seoul government is currently supporting loss-makers in order to protect underprivileged citizens’
right to use public transport, and plans to invest 14 billion won (2013 basis) in the Maeulbus companies in order to guarantee running times using BMS and budget is being allocated for the provision of incentives, etc. according to the result of evaluation of services.