A lawsuit against Seoul City and Mayor Lee Myung-bak was filed Tuesday by 53 residents of Seoul, S.Korea, demanding a combined 53 million won in compensation for damage caused by Seoul's new traffic system.
The traffic measures, which went into effect July 1, caused "a lot of confusion, inconvenience and mental uneasiness in our social and domestic life," he citizens claimed in the petition, which was submitted to the Seoul Central District Court.
The citizens are members of an Internet site that opened on July 2 in protest of Seoul's new transport system after major streets in Seoul suffered traffic congestion and the new payment system for subway and bus fares failed to operate properly due to technical problems.
"Mayor Lee Myung-bak should take responsibility for all the chaos. Seoul City should take measures to compensate for the social damage and financial losses incurred by individuals."
The lawsuit against Lee and Seoul City comes as the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) is moving to inspect Seoul City's policy planning and budget spending for the traffic changes. The state-run financial watchdog said it will embark on an investigation into the case late next month.
Public fury still lingers over the new traffic system as people using buses and the subway find it difficult to use the computerized fare-collection system installed at all subway stations and buses operating in Seoul.
The People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy last week filed a petition with the BAI for a review of the case as public calls for Lee to step down as mayor grew.
Critics argue Seoul City hurried the introduction of the new transport system on July 1 to mark Lee��s two years in office without giving sufficient consideration to the potential problems that the traffic changes could bring.
Mayor Lee is now facing accusations that he gave the final go-ahead for the traffic changes despite the warnings of transportation experts. There is speculation that even some city officials last month demanded a delay of the introduction of the systems, citing technological problems, but Lee rejected their demands.