SEOUL, Jun. 29 (Korea Bizwire) — From Saturday, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will be offering free public transport services during rush hour on days when high-level fine dust alerts are issued, in an effort to discourage driving and reduce air pollution.
Seoul’s decision to offer free public transport comes after the municipal government announced ten measures to help tackle the growing problem of fine dust earlier this month, some of which will go into effect in July.
When levels of ultra-fine dust in the capital exceed 50㎍/㎥ after 4 p.m., and are expected to stay ‘bad’ until the next day, the Seoul government will issue a citywide anti-fine dust emergency measure, encouraging commuters to use public transport during rush hour by making buses and the subway temporarily free.
The types of public transport that will be free under Seoul’s anti-fine dust policy include Line 1 to Line 9 of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway; the Seoul LRT Ui-Sinseol Line; Blue, Green and Yellow buses; and smaller ‘town’ buses known in Korean as Maeul buses.
Though the Seoul government is currently in talks with other transport organizations such as Korail and the Gyeonggi provincial government, red buses traveling to neighboring cities such as Ilsan and Bundang are not part of Seoul’s free transport plan for the time being.
With the daily economic losses from offering free bus and subway rides estimated at a 3.56 billion won, the Seoul government will cover any deficits incurred by transport organizations such as Seoul Metro to ensure the viability of the initiative.
Emergency texts will be sent to Seoul residents the night before a free transport day is scheduled, while over 500 public parking lots will be shut down as part of all-out efforts to curb emissions.
Last month, Seoul government officials met with 3,000 local residents to discuss ways to curb fine dust levels in the city, and new measures will see over 1 million marginalized members of society given fine dust masks, and air purifiers introduced to over 6,500 childcare facilities.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)