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[VIDEO NEWS] Free ride for elderly citizens: pain in the neck or cost-effective welfare?

Mar 22,2018
1) Free rides for elderly citizens: a pain in the neck or cost-effective welfare?

2) Youngdeungpo Station, line No. 1. The subway is packed with people, and half of them are elderly citizens traveling alone.

3) “It takes 30 minutes on the bus, but the subway is free so I take it even if I there isn’t a seat.” -Park, 72 years old

4) “I use the subway everywhere, but there are so many elderly citizens that I almost never get a seat. They should consider the convenience of other citizens too.” -Kim, 27 years old

5) According to the Seoul Metro, Seoul subways had a net loss of 385 billion won ($360 million) in 2016.

6) Of this, losses from elderly citizens’ free rides were 71 percent (275 billion won).

7) With subway operation companies calling for a raise in transportation fees given the losses, this is developing into discord between generations.

8) “Many times, those who get free rides use the subway unnecessarily. I think the people who are paying are suffering from them.” -Jeong, a jobseeker

9) Because of the negative view some people have of free rides, some elderly citizens voluntarily pay.

10) “I have the free card but I try not to use it, because it feels like I’m taking advantage of my age.” -Kim Young-jae, 69 years old

11) With the increase in travel expenses, some are saying that the free ride system should be eliminated, or that the qualifying age should be adjusted.

12) However, many people argue that the free ride system should be seen as a kind of welfare.

13) “The right to transportation is a fundamental right that should be guaranteed to elderly citizens, who are the poorest generation. Social distribution of resources and investment is necessary.” -Kim Yeon-myung, professor of welfare at Chung-Ang University

14) Some say that getting rid of free rides for elderly citizens will not fix the chronic money loss issue of the subways.

15) “In a survey done on elderly citizens, 56.5 percent said they would go out less or use other means of transportation if free rides are abolished.” -Yoo Jung-hoon, professor of transportation system engineering at Ajou University

16) Other voices say that the qualifying age for free ride should be adjusted, or the discount rate should be given differentially.

Video sourced from JoongAng Ilbo
Directed by Kim Rok-hwan
Produced by Kim Su-hyeon
Translated by Kim Hyo-jung
Edited by Matthew Silberman