▲ Jeju's public transport has been criticized by visitors and international residents and officials are attempting to address concerns. Photo courtesyJeju Special Self-Governing Province
This interview took place between Kim Yuna of The Jeju Weekly and Ko Seong-pil of the Transport Policy Department. The questions were received from readers of The Jeju Weekly by email or through Facebook.
Jeju Weekly: What has the province done to ease public transport use for non-Koreans?
Transport Policy Department: To increase convenience for non-Koreans, the province now uses numerals for outer city bus routes similar to inner city buses. Also, the province will continue to increase the use of foreign languages on route maps and bus stops.
JW: Why do buses with multiple routes have the same number?
TPD: As one bus has to travel many different routes, it has proven difficult to stick different numbers for every separate journey. This is why the bus number system was difficult to implement on intercity buses. By the end of the year the province hopes to have installed LED displays on buses so each route can be properly differentiated.
JW: Bus stops currently only have schedules and route information in Korean. Do you have any plans to change this?
TPD: Although currently only Korean language is included at many bus stops, we are planning to produce bus schedules and route maps in foreign languages in the future.
JW: Why do some buses no longer provide English announcements?
TPD: According to the Bus Information System Project (2013~2015), announcements are provided in four languages: Korean, Chinese, Japanese and English. If your bus is not providing these then please note down the bus number and information displayed above the exit door and make a report to me at the Transport Policy Department on 064-710-2433.
JW: Are online services being improved?
TPD: The Bus Information System Project (2013~2015) developed a homepage and a newly developed mobile application, “Jeju Bus Info.” Both of these are in Korean and there are no plans to improve foreign language services.
JW: Are drivers given customer service training?
TPD: Bus drivers are constantly undergoing training in customer care and language education is also being provided to answer basic questions in foreign languages.
JW: Do rigid timetables encourage drivers to drive recklessly?
TPD: There are several reasons for buses being delayed such as road construction, traffic lights and queues of passengers at bus stops. We have discussed this problem and adjusted the schedules appropriately. We will also encourage drivers not to feel pressured to keep to timetables so they can drive safely.
JW: What is being done to prevent passenger falls due to sudden stopping?
TPD: We continuously meet with bus companies and train drivers over this problem and have requested bus companies prevent such incidences. In cases where dangerous driving causes injury to passengers, drivers can be punished by law. Training also informs drivers of the dangers of sudden starting and stopping. We also evaluate bus companies according to their safety record.
JW: Buses are not accessible, especially for the elderly and weak. How is this being tackled?
TPD: Jeju now has nine low-floor buses to minimize inconvenience for the weak and elderly. There are four such buses on the 100 route, three on the 95 route [both Jeju City], and one each on the 3 and 9 routes in Seogwipo City. However, most of the low floor buses are LNG and imported from abroad, making them costly and difficult to maintain. Therefore, semi-low floor buses will be introduced in due course and we will try to improve other buses as well.
Bikes, night buses and more
JW: Are there any plans to improve bicycle storage on buses?
TPD: It is forbidden by law to carry bicycles on city buses as they are bulky and a safety hazard. However, bikes can be stored below deck on intercity buses and drivers have been accordingly trained to store them. However, bicycle owners should be aware that bus companies are not liable for damage or theft.
JW: Do you have any plans for a night bus service between Jeju and Seogwipo?
TPD: The current night bus service is mostly for students after studying at libraries or schools. If we were to extend the night bus service from Jeju City to Seogwipo, it would have an adverse effect on taxi and “daeliunjon” (replacement driver) businesses. Therefore, any long-term plans need to be carefully analyzed and considered.
JW: Are there any plans to increase the number of city tour buses?
TPD: We are looking for business partnerships to increase these services.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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