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SEOUL — The number of taxis running at U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan has risen to about two-thirds the number operating before the base’s main taxi provider went on strike in April, officials say.

Meanwhile, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service is still looking for a primary taxi company for Area II, but can’t find one willing to offer the same services as the previous company.

"We don’t have sources that are expressing interest right now," said AAFES capital exchange general manager Shawn Dorcy.

The previous main taxi provider, World Cup Arirang Tourism Co., went on a partial strike in April over a salary dispute with the company’s management. Taxi service at Yongsan was sporadic, with drivers sometimes not answering dispatches or not driving.

AAFES terminated its contract with World Cup on June 4, citing default.

World Cup offered two key services at Yongsan that other Korean taxi companies don’t provide: dispatch services and a flat fare of $3.50 for trips within Yongsan and Camp Coiner.

World Cup operated 92 taxis at Yongsan. Before the strike, secondary provider Yonhap Taxi operated about 50 taxis.

Yonhap added another 50 taxis June 27, which has "significantly improved" waits for taxis at Yongsan, Dorcy said.

"We’re not seeing annoying clogs at the six pickup points," he said.

Customers can get taxis at the pickup points on base or flag down taxis, as they would in downtown Seoul.

They also pay Seoul fares — a 1,900 won starting fare that increases based on the time and distance of the ride.

Servicemembers have told him they’re happy with those fares, he said.

"Those are actually a better deal for most of our customers than the flat fee was before," he said. Yonhap accepts both won and dollars, he said. Dorcy said he didn’t know when a primary taxi company will be hired but, once a company is found, it will take about 60 days for them to begin operating on post. He said AAFES may offer a separate contract for dispatch service.


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