English chatbot services to be available for public bike users

Starting Friday, chatbot services in English will be made available on the Ttareungi app -- a mobile application used to rent public bicycles in Seoul -- the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced Thursday.

Ttareungi is a public bike-sharing system that operates within Seoul, and can be used both by domestic residents and foreign nationals visiting the city after purchasing a voucher through the app.

Previously, the chatbot service for assistance in purchasing vouchers, renting bikes and dealing with technical issues was only available in Korean.

The new chatbot service intends to meet the rising number of the public bike service’s foreign users. While 26,970 foreign nationals used the Ttareungi service in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, 44,292 foreign nationals have used the service as of September 2023, according to data presented by the city government.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government stated that while English will be the only foreign language chatbot service made available from Friday, the city government is looking to develop and add Chinese and Japanese services in the future.

Besides the chatbot system, the Seoul Metropolitan Government also added they will install a direct hotline service between the 120 Dasan Call Center and Ttareungi’s customer service center. The hotline is to operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and the 120 Dasan Call Center will support three-way interpretation calls between the user and Ttareungi’s customer service center. The 120 Dasan Call Center’s helpline currently offers English, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Mongolian services.

“This new service will significantly improve the accessibility of Ttareungi for foreign nationals,” said Yoon Jong-jang, head of Seoul Metropolitan Government’s city transportation office. “We are committed to further promoting tourism courses accessible via Ttareungi and diversifying payment options for purchasing vouchers to ensure an optimal experience with the public bike service.”

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