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The complete guide to Seoul taxis
How to get the best fares and safest rides on the most hair-raising modes of transport in the city
With more than 23,000 taxis crawling through the streets of the city day and night, it’s easy to get around Seoul.
And although traffic jams usually prevent taxi drivers from flexing their Formula 1-worthy skills on the road, cabbing it home at night can be an exhilarating (or excruciating) joy ride.
Just remember to fasten that seat belt.
Not only are Seoul taxis abundant and convenient (you can pay with credit cards or T-money public transit cards) but most come equipped with GPS navigation systems and Big Brother-esque black boxes to ensure proper conduct of both the driver and the customer.
Whether you're a first-timer to the city and confused about the colors, or a local who doesn't know about the change in rates at night, here's our guide to Seoul's many taxis.
Regular taxi (개인택시)
Owned by the cab drivers themselves, regular taxis are the most abundant of the Seoul cabs. Although they are mostly silver or white, there has been a movement to convert all Seoul taxis to dirt-orange since 2009, both to increase visibility and to make them a city icon, akin to the New York City’s yellow cabs.
The difference between regular taxis and brand taxis is that a driver must have five years of accident-free experience in a brand taxi in order to be certified as a regular taxi driver. For this reason, regular taxis are generally considered safer than brand taxis.
The fare: starts at ₩2400 for the first two kilometers, and increases by ₩100 every 144 meter or 35 seconds if the speed falls below 14.81 kph.
There is also a 20 percent increase between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m.
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Brand taxi (회사택시)
Like regular taxis, brand taxis can also be hailed anywhere, but are owned by companies that can dispatch the nearest taxi to anyone that calls for one. For this reason, they are also referred to as “call taxis.”
The fare: exactly the same as the regular taxi (including the peak time price increase).
However, if you call for a "call taxi," there may be an additional charge of ₩1,000 if the total fare for a dispatched call taxi is less than ₩10,000.
Kind-call taxi: +82 1588 3382
KT Powertel: +82 1588 0082
Butterfly call taxi: +82 1599 8255
S Taxi: +82 1577 0115
Hi Call: +82 1644 8200
Dongbu Call: +82 1688 2255
Deluxe taxi (모범택시)
Deluxe taxis are for people looking for better service and a “safer” ride, and have more money in their budget. Known as “luxury taxis,” the deluxe cabs are black and are known to offer better service than the regular taxicabs.
Deluxe taxi drivers must have driven a regular taxi for 10 years accident-free before deluxe taxi certification, and therefore are considered the safest in the city.
The fare: starts at ₩4,500 for the first three kilometers, and increases by ₩200 every 164 meters or 39 seconds if the speed falls below 15.14 kilometers/hour.
Unlike the regular taxi, the deluxe taxi does not increase fare between midnight and 4 a.m.
The deluxe taxi fare is higher due to the additional training and qualifications the driver must receive before being able to drive a deluxe taxi.
Call +82 2 558 8000 to request a dispatch if you are having trouble hailing one.
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Jumbo taxi (대형택시)
Jumbo taxis are usually vans that can transport a larger group, as they can seat up to eight or nine people (the exact number varies by taxi or company) and more cargo. For a big party, taking one jumbo taxi is much more economical than two regular taxis.
The fare is the same as that of the deluxe taxi.
Jumbo taxis are also available at an hourly rate or at a flat rate between popular destinations in between Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi-do.
Warning: do not get jumbo taxis confused with call-vans, which are priced based on the amount of cargo and the number of people. Since call-vans are not on a meter and the price is negotiated with the driver, they tend to be more expensive than jumbo taxis.
To hail: call +82 2 888 2000 for a dispatch, or consult any of the jumbo taxi companies below:
International taxi (국제택시)
For English or Japanese-speaking customers, international taxis offer services in both of these languages, and drivers are often equipped with tourist information.
The level of fluency varies per driver – after all, the language tests for drivers are on paper.
There are three types of international taxis; regular, deluxe, and jumbo.
The fare: can be on the meter or flat. A regular international taxi fare starts at ₩2,880 and increases by ₩120 every 144 meters or 35 seconds if the speed falls below 15 kph. The deluxe taxi fare applies to deluxe and jumbo international taxis.
International taxis charge a flat rate to and from Incheon International Airport, and can also be booked for a block of time for a flat fee: three hours for ₩50,000.
To hail: call +82 1644 2255
Wheelchair Accessible Call Taxi (장애인콜택시)
For the registered handicapped in Seoul with wheelchairs, handicap call taxis can also be patronized by foreigners with a valid passport. These taxis are modified to accommodate wheelchairs, and are provided in order to ease transportation for the handicapped. They operate 24 hours, and can also accommodate up to three companions for a total party of four.
The fare: is about 35 percent of the regular taxi fare, starting at ₩1,500 for the first five kilometers, and increasing by ₩300 per kilometer for the next five kilometers, then by ₩35 per kilometer for trips exceeding 10 kilometers.
To hail: call +82 1588 4388 (although foreigners can request this handicap call taxi, English-speaking agents are limited so be prepared)
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