Seoul is planning to increase the base taxi fare from 3,000 won ($2.60) to 3,800 won next year, according to a city proposal submitted Wednesday.
This is lower than speculation in February that the fare would rise to 4,500 won to prop up taxi drivers’ low wages. Seoul has one of the lowest base taxi fares compared with other affluent cities in the world.
According to the proposal, the base fare hike will be steeper for nighttime operations, rising from 3,600 won to 5,400 won.
This rate will also kick in an hour earlier, at 11 p.m., and apply until 4 a.m. The basic travel distance before surcharges during nighttime, however, will increase from two kilometers to three kilometers.
The fare hike is intended to increase taxi numbers at night when demand far outstrips supply in areas like Hongdae and Itaewon. It also is designed to discourage drivers from refusing late-night customers who want to travel short distances, city officials said.
But the rise is not finalized and will require authorization from the city council and mayor.
If the new fares are implemented, a 10-kilometer ride from Jongno 3-ga Station to Gangnam Station will cost about 10,000 won during the day and 11,800 won after 11 p.m. — 1,300 won and 1,500 won more than the current rate, respectively.
But taxi drivers say the 3,800 won base fare is still low considering the steep rise in Seoul living expenses.