South Korean Taxi Companies Introduce Official Puke Tax

South Korean Taxi Companies Introduce Official Puke Tax 1 photo
A Seoul Taxi Association survey conducted last fall found that 10,982, or better put 42.5 percent, of complaints filed by taxi drivers involved vomiting. While this scenario is rather peculiar in US, it would seem cab drivers in Korea find this a real problem. In fact, it’s that serious that the capital’s two drivers associations have cut a deal with the town’s rulers so that people that do mess up their cars get fined.
We’re sure you’re a mature occasional drinker who doesn’t usually consume more alcohol than intended. There’s that certain limit we all try to respect and even though we do sometimes pass it, we’ll make sure the mess is as little as possible. But let us just pretend it happened at least once, it was that one time when we simply had too much fun and things got out of control.

Sure, since we’re all nice people here and we know what cleaning up such a mess means for a man’s car, we’d normally tip the driver of the cab big time. So far, so good, but here we are reading about a city where this is not just a once in a life time odd happening, but in fact a national problem. Well, maybe not national, but one that affects South Korea’s capital city, Seoul.

It's quite a big fine

The cards have been delt, starting February 1st, drivers will ask passengers who barf in their taxis to pay a standard, city-approved fine of 150,000 won (about $135). Is that a lot? Well, considering that to start the car a cab driver will charge you an average of 3,000 ($2,74) while the fare per kilometer is about 1,200 ($1) we’re looking at a pretty big fine. And get this, if the culprit refuses to pay, the taxi driver is allowed to charge him even more.

As we previously mentioned, reported statistics appear to underline a serious problem in Seoul, but the reason is far from being what you think. According to US Armed Forces’ newspaper, South Korea’s drinking culture encourages co-workers and friends to bond over alcohol, often imbibing to the point of intoxication. This is why vomiting is not really that uncommon.

Question is, what happens if the drunk simply refuses to pay? Well, since it’s not legally enforceable there’s not a lot one can do, apart from trying to enforce the fine by taking them to civil court.
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