Public transport in mega-cities like Seoul and Busan in South Korea and around the world should remain cheap and safe for workers and ordinary people who travel from workplaces to their neighborhoods. This is in spite of the fact that these systems have faced a decrease in passengers followed by financial problems during the Covid-19 pandemic.
But what has the South Korean government done during the crisis? It says it will build more rail and metro lines, but in fact services are not being operated in a sustainable pay to meet the needs of urban workers. For example, Seoul City, forced by the government, told Seoul Metro, which has suffered a financial deficit of 1.6 trillion won, it had to take care of its recovery on its own, with subsidizing a single penny. Now inside the company there is a rumour of structural adjustment. Incheon City, which used to mention how it is friendly to working people, plans to outsource newly opening several stations in order to save money. And despite knowing that danger to rail and metro, Moon’s administration has only been concerning to save the capitalist market.
However, according to <the future of public transport> report published by C40, investment in public transport to deal with the Covid-19 crisis could create 4.6 million jobs and reduce emissions by half over the next 10 years in the C40 cities. And this movement includes cities like L.A, Milan, Jakarta and so on. We cannot help but feel ashamed by what is happening in cities like Seoul right now now, in a country that is embarrassingly proud of things like K-pop, K-food, etc.
ITF is now engaging in a worldwide campaigning “the future is the transport” calling for more investment to public transport to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, and more organisations such as the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Public Services International (PSI) and Green Peace are joining the campaign. KRMU also declares its participation.
KRMU with 44 thousand members is today proclaiming a fight to save our public transport from crisis and calls on the Korean parliament to pass the relating laws. We warn that before everything stops, we will make it stop.
Koran Rail and Metro Unions’ council
31 March 2021