Seoul City to Expand Cashless Buses | Be Korea-savvy

Seoul City to Expand Cashless Buses

Passengers board a bus with a banner that reads "cashless bus" in Seoul on March 1, 2023. (Yonhap)

Passengers board a bus with a banner that reads “cashless bus” in Seoul on March 1, 2023. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, March 2 (Korea Bizwire) The Seoul Metropolitan Government on Wednesday increased the number of public buses that only accept cards, as part of the city’s efforts to reflect the dwindling usage of cash and to prevent accidents.

The city increased the number of so-called “cashless buses” from 436 buses operating on 18 routes to 1,876 buses operating on 108 routes. These buses now account for 25 percent of all public buses, up from the previous 6 percent.

The proportion of passengers paying cash for public buses dropped from 3 percent in 2012 to 0.6 percent last year. Cash income, too, dropped from 52.1 billion won (US$39.6 million) in 2012 to 8.2 billion won last year.

The maintenance cost of cash boxes for each bus is around 2 billion won per year.

The sharp edges of the metal cash boxes have also been a source of injury among a number of passengers.

The increase in the number of cashless buses isn’t a problem for most passengers, since most already use a card to pay their fare.

Taking out cash boxer, however, may pose an inconvenience to seniors and foreigners who aren’t used to using cards.

An individual referred to only as Hong, 34, said he struggled in Japan since traffic cards weren’t available there, paying the bus fare in cash.

“Foreigners visiting South Korea may face the same situation,” he said.

M. H. Lee (

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