SEJONG, Feb.22 (Korea Bizwire) – After acknowledging the need for late night call-buses, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will launch new policies during the week so that bus and taxi operators can participate in providing the services.
Ministry officials discussed the illegality of late night call-buses, which started appearing at the end of 2015. They reached the conclusion that new business regulations should be imposed for ‘late night call-buses’ which are different from existing buses and taxies.
After discussing whether they would set the starting time of ‘late night’ to ‘10 p.m.’ or ‘midnight’, the ministry will implement regulations that allow both taxi and bus companies to participate in the new ventures using vehicles that can hold more than 11 people.
The ministry is hoping to reduce user inconvenience and expand the supply of nighttime transportation by allowing bus and taxi businesses that hold valid licenses to provide transportation services at night using ICT (information and communications technology).
When a user requests a late night call-bus through a smartphone application, the bus picks up the user at the nearest bus stop, and drops them off at the closest bus stop near the desired destination.
Bus operators will be permitted to use vans or buses that can hold more than 11 people, and taxi businesses can use vehicles that hold more than 11 people but less than 13 people in these new ventures.
As the ministry expanded the legal size of ‘large’ taxis from vehicles that have the capacity of seating six to 10 people to vehicles that can seat 13 passengers, taxies which allow passengers to share rides will be available in the near future.
The law regulates ‘vans’ as vehicles that can seat more than 11 passengers, and ‘buses’ as vehicles that can seat more than 16 passengers. Since bus companies cannot operate the vans purchased to use as nighttime call-buses during the day, vehicles that can seat more than 25 people are expected to be used.
Call-bus Lab, which is a company currently providing nighttime call-bus services, is cooperating with a chartered bus business. Chartered bus businesses are ‘registered businesses’ instead of ‘licensed businesses’.
Although the ministry is planning to only include licensed businesses in the nighttime call-bus services, they will not define the current chartered bus companies that provide late night transportation as illegal.
The ministry plans to lay out the policy first and then respond to the situation as changes in supply and demand occur.
By M.H.Lee (email@example.com)