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Pacific edition, Wenesday, August 1, 2007

CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Twenty taxis from the Kwang Sung taxi company began serving passengers on camps Red Cloud and Stanley in Uijeongbu on Saturday, Area I officials said Monday.

The gray taxis wait at Camp Stanley’s commissary and at Camp Red Cloud’s commissary and post exchange areas, operating alongside World Cup Arirang Tourism taxis, said Uijeongbu Enclave Director Steve Saxby.

Each base received 10 of the new taxis, base officials said.

“Soldiers were continually asking for more taxis due to the lack of Arirang taxis when they needed to go somewhere,” Saxby said.

The additional taxis operate on Camp Red Cloud from 4 to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The extra Camp Stanley taxis will be available from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday through early Monday morning.

Yongsan Garrison added taxi service from a second company, Yonhap Transportation, earlier this month in response to repeated complaints about lack of Arirang taxis during peak usage times.

Officials have discussed additional taxis for Camp Casey but no word on a decision was available Monday afternoon, an Area I spokeswoman said.

The new taxis accept dollars, but meter and give change in won only, said AAFES service supervisor Ki Un-chong.

The conversion rate will be based on the military banking rate, which is published daily in Stars and Stripes.

Customers who summon a Kwang Sung taxi by calling a South Korean operator at 031-1566-9088 instead of catching one at the waiting areas will be charged an extra 1,000 won, Ki said. Kwang Sung plans to set up a separate phone number for U.S. customers, Ki said.

Arirang taxis tried to charge a $1 call fee in March, but soon rescinded the fee after drawing customer complaints.

Drivers will have limited English-speaking abilities, Ki said, but phones connecting to free interpreters will be available in each taxi. Ki’s business card will be posted in each taxi, so she can be contacted to solve any immediate problems.

Ki took one call over the weekend to help translate directions to a driver, she said.

Operations generally went smoothly over the weekend, though Kwang Sung was disappointed it didn’t have more customers, Ki said. However, that also means demand for taxis was met, she said.

“We are trying to do our best to serve our customers. They should not wait,” Ki said.

AAFES has installed a 24-hour answering machine at DSN 732-6285 for reporting disputes. Customers should report the taxi’s number, driver’s name, date and time of any incident.

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