Taxis are an important transport method in addition to public transport to move around in Korean cities. There are tons of cab during the day in all medium- and large-sized cities. Taxi fares are in general affordable. This page is going to give you a guide on taxis in Seoul. The situation (types of taxis and fares) can differ in other regions.
Types of Taxis in Seoul
Officially, there are around five or more different types of taxis. standard taxis, international taxis and deluxe taxis.
Seoul’s standard taxis are either silver, white or orange:
Up to 4 passengers are allowed in a standard taxi. If you have any luggage, you can ask the driver to open the trunk. But please be aware that the trunk is smaller than in regular cars due to the LPG tank.
|Basic fare:||3,000 KRW (for the first 2 km)|
|Surcharge:||100 KRW (per 142 m or every 35 seconds)|
|Night-Surchage:||20% (from 12 to 4 am)|
Seoul’s Deluxe Taxi
The deluxe taxis are black with a gold strip on the doors. Their basic fare is higher than the normal taxis. Their fare is identical with the big black vans. Here is a picture of a Deluxe Taxi (in Korean 모범택시):
Here 4 passengers are allowed per vehicle. You’ll find them easily at hotel entrances. The difference to normal taxis is that the taxis are cleaner, more comfortable and the drivers have good driving records. However, the service difference to normal taxis isn’t huge anymore. When they were first introduced in 1992, there were worlds between normal taxis and the luxury taxis. In recent years there have been more regulations for normal taxis (like no smoking) that improved their service standards drastically.
|Basic fare:||5,000 KRW (for the first 3 km)|
|Surcharge:||200 KRW (per 164 m or every 39 seconds)|
Premium taxi-services are offered in Busan, Incheon and Gyeonggi-do as well and only a few one in Daegu and Gwangju.
Deluxe Jumbo Taxi
In case that you need a bigger taxi, then you can rent a deluxe jumbo tax. 9 passengers can be transported in a jumbo taxi and the fares are the same as the deluxe taxi.
In the first picture is also a black taxi with a orange stripe on the side. It is a rare “International Taxi”. Such a taxi has the advantage that the driver can communicate in other languages. The international taxi exists as standard taxi (then the cab is sometimes orange) and as a deluxe version. The international taxi can be reserved via phone (1644-2555) but then there is a surcharge of 20% to the basic fare.
|Basic fare:||3,600 KRW (for the first 2 km)|
|Surcharge:||120 KRW (per 142 m or every 35 seconds)|
Route Incheon International Airport – Seoul
They have flat fares for the route to Seoul:
Destinations in western part of Seoul: 55,000 KRW (deluxe: 80,000 KRW)
Destinations in central Seoul: 65,000 KRW (deluxe: 95,000 KRW)
Destinations in eastern Seoul: 75,000 KRW (deluxe 110,000 KRW)
You can find more information about the international taxis on their official homepage.
Hire an International Taxi
International taxis can be rented for multiple hours.
3 Hours: 50,000 KRW (deluxe: 70,000 KRW)
Every additional hour costs 20,000 KRW extra.
However, we have no experience on hiring a taxi on time-based tariffs.
How to hail a taxi?
While waiting for a taxi, you’ll probably ask yourself: How do I recognize an empty cab? An empty taxi can be identified by a red LED sign in the front window. It looks like that:
The sign says “빈차” in Korean and it means “empty car”.
Taking a taxi is pretty simple: Stand close to the curb and stick your arm. If you see a vacant taxi approaching you, you can wave your hand to get the attention of the driver. All cars are equipped with a navigation system. In case that the driver doesn’t know the destination, a phone number (it can be typed into the navigation or he can call the number) or the name of a landmark close-by can be of help. The language barrier can be a issue sometimes. Therefore, Seoul has a free interpretation service. The phone number is written in the window or on the door of the taxis.
Please don’t hail a taxi at a bus stop or on a pedestrian crossing. We don’t recommend you to tell a taxi driver to hurry or to ignore red lights.
There are many taxi stands around Seoul. They look like bus shelters. I only rarely see taxis at such places and you might have more luck to get a taxi somewhere else.
I personally often observe that people first tell the driver the destination. After the taxi driver gives his OK, they get on the cab. But that’s actually not necessary. A taxi driver has to accept all passengers and drive them to the destination as long as it is in the city limits. If a driver refuses you without proper reason, you can report him.
Payment in Taxis
The most common method to pay for a taxi is by cash. The drivers should give you the exact change. Tipping of taxi drivers isn’t common. The majority of taxis these days accepts credit cards or t-money. But it’s also always good to ask beforehand. There is a 20% surcharge at night on all fares. It’s possible to ask for a receipt.
If you feel that you’ve been overcharged or the driver treated you wrong, then you can report it to one of the following places:
Korea Tourism Organization: 1330
Dasan Call: 120 (and then press 9)
Visit Seoul: firstname.lastname@example.org (for Seoul)
To report a taxi information such as license plate, date, time, location of the incident or receipt are always useful.