According to the New York Times, 31,000 Koreans die each year of causes related to accidents (fires, car accidents,…). that’s the highest rate among OECD countries. Many things are done hastily and with an overly minimized-cost. From the tourists eyes, Seoul is a wonderful place to live. And it is. But there are many everyday safety concerns that the government needs to enforce – speeding public buses that run red lights to maintain schedules, delivery bikes that disobey traffic lights, drive on the sidewalk, and often on the wrong side of the road. The Sewol ferry boat accident is a heart breaking tragedy of what happens when safety is overlooked and unchecked by the government on a large scale.
Fortunately, the public is now focused on tackling these issues and one major safety issue has already been addressed. Gyeonggi Provincial buses, that travel along Highway 1 to Seoul, now require all passengers to be seated. In the past, rush hour buses were crammed with as many people as could sit and stand between the entrance and exit doors. The highway ride is long and it’s a wonder that this safety hazard wasn’t addressed sooner. But with the changes comes frustration. Additional buses haven’t been added to these routes and many people will end up queuing in longer lines. Small price to pay for our life.