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SEOUL — Yongsan Garrison AAFES officials say they’re working with a recently added second taxi company to determine just how many more taxis are needed to serve the community.

Yonhap Transportation is running about 15 taxis on the garrison during peak hours, and could provide as many as 50 if there is enough demand, said Ron Daugherty, Army and Air Force Exchange Service general manager at Yongsan.

Yonhap is in the set-up stage and officials are trying to figure out if more taxis are needed, he said.

“We don’t know if 15 is the right number,” he said. “We’re finding out what fits best.”

Another company, World Cup Arirang Tourism, provides 90 taxis during peak hours and had provided all taxi service in Areas I and II until Yonhap began operating at Yongsan earlier this month.

Having a second taxi company is meant to decrease waits for taxis, which Daugherty said should be no longer than 15 to 30 minutes during peak hours. Yonhap could also offer lower prices for off-base trips.

The black World Cup Arirang taxis began operating under a new fare plan on June 25 that caps all Yongsan Garrison one-stop, on-base rides at $3. Fares start at $2.50 and increase 25 cents for every quarter-kilometer (250 meters) after the first 1.75 kilometers.

Yonhap fares start at 1,900 won ($2.10), with increases of 100 won (11 cents) based on time and distance.

Yonhap’s fares are not capped for on-base trips, but AAFES officials say its fares for trips outside Yongsan could be cheaper than World Cup Arirang fares.

Daugherty said the number of Yonhap taxis on base fluctuates according to demand, with a minimum of five taxis on base during nonpeak hours. The company has 10 taxis on base at 3 p.m. on weekdays and 15 taxis on base on Friday and Saturday afternoons and weekend nights.

Fifty Yonhap drivers went through a daylong training session at Yongsan Garrison that included an introduction to AAFES, its customer service standards and a bus tour of the base. The drivers are required to pass two security checks, and, as contracted employees, meet minimum English language standards.

Daugherty said drivers aren’t tested on their English skills before they begin working at Yongsan.

“It’s more of a reverse check. If we get customers complaining that, ‘Hey, this person doesn’t understand English,’ we look into it,” he said.

World Cup Arirang drivers were required to pass the same security tests and undergo the same training.

Daugherty said a camera monitoring the number of waiting customers at the Dragon Hill Lodge taxi stand will begin operating within 30 days, and cameras will begin operating at the base hospital and Camp Coiner within 60 days. Cameras are already operating at Yongsan’s post exchange, commissary and bus terminal.


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