NATIONAL

First taxi service for those with COVID-19 symptoms launches in Busan

By Ko Jun-tae
  • Published : Feb 23, 2021 - 12:23
  • Updated : Feb 23, 2021 - 17:43

A taxi vehicle being used in Busan to exclusively service those with COVID-19 symptoms (Busan Metropolitan City Government)
The first taxi service in South Korea exclusively for those with COVID-19 symptoms kicked off in Busan with the same fare system but will only run to and from home and local public health centers.

The Busan city government said Tuesday a local taxi company named Tomato Taxi has started a cab service exclusively for those in need of COVID-19 checks with 32 taxi vehicles. The service was introduced following requests from Busan’s civic task force on COVID-19, the city said.

The taxis used for the service are installed with plastic dividers and are equipped with sanitation items like hand sanitizers and face masks. The cabs will operate based on reservations through a smartphone application or a phone call available for 24 hours a day.

The service allows customers to use the same taxi to return home after receiving COVID-19 check at a health center. An additional fare will not be charged while taxis wait for their customers to complete the check, the city government said. The fare system is the same as when using regular cabs.

Busan government said the service will allow its citizens without their own cars to receive COVID-19 checks more conveniently.

At the moment, those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms in Busan are required to call an ambulance or use their own cars to report to nearby public health centers. The mandate has caused difficulties for citizens who are limited from choosing these options.

Tomato Taxi said it does not expect its taxi service to make much profit from the service but still insisted on introducing it as a means to cooperate in the city government’s virus control efforts.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)