After the first outbreak of COVID-19 in February 2020, South Korea has adopted a variety of methods to trace those who have visited vulnerable places such as crowded restaurants, sports facilities, and shopping malls. Personalized QR codes have been issued, and a call check-in service required people to call numbers dedicated to each restaurant or facility every time they enter.
While it is easy for health officials to find out taxi passengers who used credit cards or a digital payment method, it is almost impossible to locate those who paid with cash. Government data showed that 99.9 percent of passengers use public transport payment cards. The high usage rate of transport cards helped an anti-epidemic campaign.
KT said in a statement on May 12 that the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Busan Taxi Transportation Association to issue dedicated call check-in numbers to 10,000 corporate-owned taxis. The company said health authorities can quickly track down and identify passengers who paid with cash.
"We will continue to provide services so that Busan citizens can use taxis without having to worry about COVID-19," Lee Jin-woo, a KT official, was quoted as saying. According to data released by Busan City, there are about 24,300 corporate-owned taxis in operation. KT will expand the taxi call check-in service to other cities to cover 120,000 taxis by the end of 2021.
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