SEOUL, Feb. 3 (Korea Bizwire) — Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said Friday his city government will discuss reforming the public transportation fare system, including the possibility of cutting the free public transportation benefit for seniors, to address the aging population and rising debts of the subway operator.
“The city of Seoul will consult with the civil society, the National Assembly and the government to determine the most desirable scope of (transportation fare) exemptions for each age and income group, as well as different timetables, with all possibilities left open,” Oh said in a Facebook post.
The message came a day after the southern city of Daegu announced it will consider raising the minimum age eligible for free subway benefits from the current 65 to 70
“Against the backdrop of the rapidly aging population, the city is faced with a profound task of how to restructure the social welfare system,” the Seoul mayor said.
“In the near future, the aged population will account for one-third of the total population. … Future generations should not be left to pick up the heavy burden.”
The mayor also proposed the issue be addressed in two different ways: state subsidies to make up for losses stemming from the free transportation benefit program and a reform of the current public transportation fare system.
Oh said the city government has already began related consultations with associations of senior citizens and plans to hold a public hearing on the issue in mid-February.
“The city will work toward establishing a sustainable and manageable public transportation system while respecting older generations,” he said.