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  • Top 10 News Stories of 2014 Selected by Seoul Citizens

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    What are the top 10 news stories of 2014 as selected by Seoul Citizens? The operation of Tayo Buses, which were buses in Seoul decorated as characters from the animation “Tayo the Little Bus,” was ranked number one with 9.7 percent of votes.

    The second most voted news item was the “Increase in the Number of National and Public Daycare Centers,” where the city government established 296 more daycare centers from 2012 to November 2014, followed by Seoul’s “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” energy policy for the new generation, through which the city government was able to reach its target of cutting energy consumption by 2 million TOE, six months ahead of schedule. The fourth was the government’s plan to “Supply 80,000 rental housing units” (housing); fifth, “Construction of Seoul Dule-gil” (life); sixth, “Establishment of a ‘Public Transport-only Area’ in Sinchon” (transportation); seventh, “Reducing Ultra-fine Particles by 20%” (environment); eighth, “Discovering and Supporting ‘Low-Income Risk’ Households” (welfare); ninth, a “Safe Parcel Delivery Service for Women” (women); and tenth, “Operation of the Citizen’s Hall.” The results show that Seoul citizens were interested in policies that directly influenced their own lives.

    The top 10 news articles were put to a vote, both on and offline, for about four weeks from November 3 (Mon) to 30 (Sun). First, 30 major policies were selected by the city government, and 6,584 Seoul citizens and Seoul city officials each picked three policies that they believed were the most influential. A total of 17,547 votes were cast.

    1) ‘Operation of Tayo Bus’ (1,705 votes, 9.7%): Tayo Buses, launched in March 26 in celebration of “Transit Day,” began with four buses but grew to 115 on 79 routes through three expansion phases, as it gained tremendous popularity with children. With cities other than Seoul, including Gwangju and Seongnam, currently having adopted Tayo Buses, this policy is considered the top contributor to improving the image of Seoul. This winter, 26 Tayo Buses with moving eyes and “Rudolph Tayo Buses” with red noses and antlers will be roaming the streets of Seoul from December 8 (Monday) to the middle of January 2015.

    2) ‘Increase in the Number of National and Public Daycare Centers’ (1,586 votes, 9%): Instead of constructing new buildings, the Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to cooperate with companies, religious organizations, groups, and individuals to utilize existing buildings, as well as public buildings, to establish national and public daycare centers. Through this “cost-reducing plan,” the Seoul Metropolitan Government will establish 1,000 daycare centers by 2018, reduce its budget, and improve the quality of childcare at these daycare centers.

    3) ‘One Less Nuclear Power Plant’ (1,366 votes, 7.8%): Approximately 1.7 million Seoul citizens have signed up for “Eco Mileage,” a citizen participatory program to cut energy consumption. In two and a half years, about 450,000 TOE of energy has been saved. This policy has also promoted the increased production of new and renewable energy, such as photovoltaic energy, and by June 2014, successfully saved 2 million TOE of energy, which is equivalent to the capacity of one nuclear power plant.

    4) ‘Supply of 80,000 Rental Housing Units’ (1,273 votes, 7.3%): In consideration of the shortage of land in Seoul, the Seoul Metropolitan Government devised new types of housing, such as “Public One-Room Housing” and “Guaranteed Long-term Housing” and was able to procure a supply of 80,000 units by June 30. The government further plans to supply an additional 80,000 units by June 2018.

    5) ‘Construction of Seoul Dule-gil (1,267 votes, 7.2%)’: Eight walking courses that circle the outskirts of Seoul, totaling a length of 157km, were fully opened to the public on November 15. The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to develop various programs that start next year and will allow citizens to finish walking all eight courses of Seoul Dule-gil.

    6) ‘Establishment of Public Transport-Only Area in Sinchon’ (1,259 votes, 7.2%): Yonsei-ro in Sinchon was designated as the first “Public Transport-Only Area” in Seoul. Since then, the Seoul Metropolitan Government reported that the number of pedestrians and people using buses has increased; the number of car accidents has gone down; and the area has contributed to the revitalization of the local area by allowing various cultural events to be held on the street.

    7) ‘Reducing Ultra-fine Particles by 20%’ (873 votes, 5.0%): The Seoul Metropolitan Government is currently investing in projects to reduce ultra-fine particles by source, from the transportation sector to pollution created from everyday activities, and the city government is also pursuing collaborations with other metropolitan areas in Northeast Asia, including Beijing and Shandong.

    8) ‘Discovering and Supporting Low-Income Risk Households’ (804 votes, 4.6%): The Seoul Metropolitan Government offered support to over 69,000 households by deploying 260 welfare consultants in Seoul, providing support through consultations instead of applications.

    9) ‘Safe Parcel Delivery System for Women (678 votes, 3.9%)’: This is a system through which women can receive deliveries at parcel delivery lockers instead of from deliverymen. It was launched in July 2013 and has expanded to 100 locations this year.

    10) ‘Operation of the Citizen’s Hall’ (517 votes, 2.9%): Since its opening in January 2013, the Citizen’s Hall has become a major communication space for the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Seoul citizens by holding various concerts, talk shows, and performances.

    Operation of Tayo Bus
    of Public
    Area in
    Increase in the
    Number of National
    and Public Daycare
    by 20%
    One Less
    Power Plant
    and Supporting
    Low-Income Risk
    Supply of 80,000
    Rental Housing
    Safe Parcel
    Delivery System
    for Women
    of Seoul
    of the Citizen’
    s Hall