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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan officials promised relief for taxi waits and parking woes Tuesday during the garrison’s monthly Community Information Forum.

USAGY commander Col. Dave Hall said the garrison is trying to get clearances for 70 more taxi drivers to work on post. The Army fired its main contractor, World Cup Arirang Tourism Co., earlier this month in the wake of a taxi strike, costing community members access to 130 taxis.

Hall said the Army and Air Force Exchange Service is working on getting a new contractor. The remaining contractor, Yonhap, has only 50 taxis available at any time.

Hall said the increase in drivers, which he hopes will take effect within the next two weeks, will put taxi strength at 75 percent to 80 percent of what it was before the strike.

Some of the drivers, Hall said, will be former World Cup drivers who lost their jobs when the company lost the contract.

"The contractor hires and fires, not AAFES and not the garrison," Hall said.

He added that shuttle services throughout the area have been increased to run every 15 minutes, and he’s asking people who own cars to assist those who don’t.

During a briefing dominated by updates to ongoing construction and renovation projects, Directorate of Public Works chief Michael Chung said a contractor "lay down" site, where contractors store unused equipment, would soon be moved from Yongsan to Camp Market. He said the space at Yongsan, next to an AAFES training building, would be converted into overflow parking for the post exchange.

Chung said the conversion, combined with upcoming improvements to the existing parking lot, would yield an additional 85 spaces for the often-cramped parking at the PX.

Other issues discussed during the monthly meeting included:

"Early bird" shopping at the commissary, which allows shoppers to purchase 15 items or less between 7 and 10 a.m., will continue for an additional two months.Garrison officials are talking about implementing a new recycling program aimed, at least in part, at educating off-post residents not to dump their trash on post.A pregnancy and postpartum physical training program was slated to begin Wednesday.Renovations on the South Post chapel begin July 1.Community Information Forums are held the last Tuesday of every month at the Yongsan Community Services Building.

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