The Korea Herald


Seoul expats happy with public transit

By Song Sangho

Published : May 2, 2011 - 18:57

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Foreigners living in Seoul were most satisfied with transport when rating a range of services last year, according to a survey released Monday by the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

But satisfaction with their residential environment was rated lowest in the survey of 900 expatriates in Seoul.

The city began conducting the research in 2008 as part of its globalization efforts. It commissioned the local pollster Korea Society Opinion Institute to conduct the survey which took place between December last year and February this year.

Respondents scored their satisfaction with transport at 4.03 out of 5 points. The rating was down slightly from 4.05 in the previous year, but was still higher than their ratings for other services.

Those questioned were generally happy with translation services for public transport and with public transit fares, officials explained. But they voiced complaints about taxi services, reporting that some drivers shun or overcharge foreigners.

The respondents marked satisfaction with their living conditions at 3.55 points. The figure was slightly up from 3.52 points in 2009, but the lowest in all the categories surveyed. Some respondents complained of difficulties getting proper information on their rental houses, officials said.

Overall, foreigners living in Seoul gave an average of 3.81 points for all five categories which were: educational, living, medical and cultural environments as well as transport services.

The overall satisfaction rating increased for the third consecutive year, with figures in 2008 and 2009 at 3.59 and 3.78, respectively.

Foreigners’ satisfaction with Seoul’s educational environment rose to 3.78, from 2009’s rating of 3.66.

The municipality is pushing ahead with a package of measures to help foreigners in the city. On Monday, the city announced 35 projects for foreign residents.

Seoul plans to build a 15-story building in which foreign residents will be able to receive diverse municipal services. In September, the city will also open a global business center in the Seoul International Finance Center to help foreign financiers do business in Korea conveniently.

By 2015, the city plans to set up dormitory and educational facilities for foreign students in Seoul on a 29,000-square-meter site in the district of Mapo. The city also seeks to introduce special courses to three elementary schools to help foreigners and their children learn Korean.

In Seoul, there are some 263,000 people of foreign nationality as of December last year, a remarkable jump from 130,000 in 2006. The current figure accounts for 2.5 percent of the population in the capital.

By Song Sang-ho (