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Thursday, June 24, 2004

substitute drivers (taeri unjeon)

I can't come up with a better term than "substitute driver" for taeri unjôn, that one can call to drive one's own car home or wherever. The most common use should be to have oneself and one's car driven home after getting drunk. Joongang Ilbo tells that as the number of substitute driver companies have increased rapidly ("like bamboo sprouts after the rain", uhu chuksun 雨後竹筍), the complaints have also increased. There are many drivers who have no insurance, so the customers find themselves having to pay the eventual damages and try to get the expenses back through court action. Small substitute driver companies may just simply close down and disappear if there's an accident. There are even companies which hire only women drivers, and we could guess what might be the idea behind that. And, as we talk about Korea, around prostitution areas there've been cases in which prostitutes pose as substitute drivers while engaging in their occupation.

There are about 8000 of these companies, with 150 000 persons (sounds like a lot) occupied. The competition has brough down prices, and in Seoul there are some who take 9000W for a gig within the same gu, or 1000W for one kilometer. Mr Maeng tells that the company gives 20% of the fare to the driver, and since there are no taxes, the pay is quite ok (ssolssolhada).

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