From Korea with Love

"I carry your heart with me… always."

Thursday’s Bus Strike in South Korea


On May 17, 2012, bus drivers in Seoul held a rally to ask for better working conditions and more benefits from the government. They displayed banners which read, “Higher salary”.

My husband called me from work on Wednesday to tell me about the bus strike the next day. I usually take the bus and the subway on my way to the hagwon,  so I panicked upon learning that there would be no buses on Thursday. Well, he told me that he would take me to Guri subway station before he goes to work, but I was worried about going home. I could ride a taxi from Guri to Janghyeon, but that would cost me around 15, 000 KRW (13.85 USD) (569.92 PHP)!

The next morning, I received a text from my co-teacher, whom I messaged the night I learned about the bus strike, and  she told me that the buses would be around in the afternoon. In the morning, buses halted operations for nearly two hours to counter “the immediate passage of a proposed parliamentary bill that defines taxis as a form of public transportation.” Bus drivers believe that if the bill is passed, taxi drivers would get more financial support from the government, but this will abate their benefits. Though buses kept their usual operation on Thursday afternoon, I had to wait for my bus longer than before. My co-teachers told me that there might be another bus strike nationwide, but based on what I have read from The Korea Times, taxi operators are the ones planning to have a massive rally in Seoul this December, and if the Assembly doesn’t pass the bill at the plenary session next month, they will hold rallies not only in Seoul, but also in other cities across the country.

In my country, strikes or rallies are common. Usually, when it is massive, classes are suspended. I suppose they will never cancel classes in Korea even if there are no public transportation available. According to my co-teachers, the government provides free transportation when there are bus strikes.

2 thoughts on “Thursday’s Bus Strike in South Korea

  1. And they probably haven’t seen gag shows and parodies in here… ^^


  2. It makes me chuckle every time people say Gangnam Style is subversive criticism because Koreans are not allowed to criticize their government in public.
    They have obviously never seen one of Korean protests.


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