No longer is it only taxis that you can call with your phone.
A bus service that you can call to come and take you directly to your destination is said to be operating in Yeongjongdo, Incheon. Reporter Sungwon Park has the story.
You call for a bus from a designated stop by inputting your destination into your phone. You can confirm through the app if a bus has been allocated and wait for it to arrive. It is the I-MOD Bus, which began its service in Yeongjongdo, Incheon.
For adults the base fare is 1,800 won and additional 100 won for every kilometer past 7 km. Another feature of I-MOD Bus is, unlike city buses that stop at every bus stop in its route, it finds the fastest route to the destination in real-time.
It might be called a bus, but it operates very much like a taxi. It actually took 18 minutes to travel 11 km from Yeongjong Library to Haneul Elementary School, which was only a 4 minute difference from taking a taxi.
Yet the cost is only one-fifth of a taxi fare, and the reason behind it is because it is a shared-ride. Because an in-transit bus carrying passengers is rerouted when called to pick up additional passengers heading towards similar destinations, the transit time for those already on board increases.
Earlier this year, residents of Yeongjongdo took a survey during its pilot service and responded that they could bear up to 10 minutes of added time due to rideshare, which, for the developers, their bottom line depends on minimizing it.
[I-MOD Bus passenger] “Since there are less passengers on board than a regular city bus… maybe (the added transit time of) 20 minutes would be acceptable if it is a shared-ride.”
[Jinnyeong Heo / Hyundai Motor Company’s Strategic Technology Division]
“(Boarding) data will accrue and the key is to find a way to reduce (the time taken by detour) by even a second based on that data …”
I-MOD Bus is gaining attention as an alternative that can stop tax money from being used to maintain less-profitable bus routes, as well as solve traffic congestions in the old downtown by reducing vehicles on the road.
[Minho Kim / Director, I-MOD Bus Developer]“Although it is a model in between a taxi and a bus, the goal (of I-MOD Bus) is to transport multiple passengers more efficiently.”
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the City of Incheon regards I-MOD Bus to play a key role in the urbanization of agricultural and fishing villages and New Town Phase III area transportation systems, and revealed its policy to actively support the process.