The Mirim horse riding club, a Pyongyang-based indoor and outdoor recreational facility, appears to have launched its own taxi service, an October-dated photo obtained by NK News indicates.
The logo of the horse riding club, which opened in 2013 following the major refurbishment of a former military equestrian company, can be clearly seen adjacent to a Korean “taxi” sign mounted on the vehicle’s roof, a picture of a mini-van in Pyongyang shows.
It also includes the number ten in the corner of its windscreen, suggesting the fleet of Mirim club taxis contains at least ten vehicles.
NK News previously identified the taxi logo as being that of Koryolink, the Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT) 75% owned North Korean cellphone network. However, upon closer inspection, it was confirmed the logo is that of the Mirim riding club.
The photo of the taxi van was taken approximately 10km from the riding club, which sits adjacent to a new microlight aviation facility in the southeast of the city, suggesting the service could be designed to shuttle local visitors to and from the facility.
The development indicates the presence of at least the fifth confirmed taxi operator in the capital city and is consistent with other leisure facilities having entered the market. The Masikryong Ski Resort, which is located west of Wonsan on the DPRK’s east coast, also has its own taxi company.
“It would make sense if they did enter the taxi market, it seems like everyone’s doing it,” said Rowan Beard, a tour guide from the Young Pioneer Tours company, who regularly visits the country.
“Mirim have a good brand name and represent a finer class of Koreans,” he said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Mirae (shooting range) enter the market, too,” he said.
The Pyongyang taxi market has grown sharply since 2013, when hundreds of Chinese-made ‘Beijing’ taxis were imported to the country to replace a fleet of vintage Volvo taxis that had previously formed the backbone of the city’s service.
“What has really taken off are the van taxis that can carry up to 12 passengers,” Beard said. “They’re super popular, too.”
“It seems the taxi business is a good model case for opening up a partial market in North Korea,” another regular visitor, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of talking to media, told NK News last month.
“I guess when it became clear that the business runs well, more and more wanted to get their share.”
North Korean media has not yet reported on the growth of the Pyongyang taxi industry.
Main picture: NK News
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