If you are considering a trip to Korea, you will be worrying about transportation. If so, shall we find out what the main transportation are within the city of Korea, and what characteristics of each transportation has?
Seoul which is the capital South Korea has nine subway lines operating, and a lot of stations are connected like a spider web. So when foreigners see the Seoul subway lines they described it as ‘Looks like spaghetti’. The subway is the most preferred means of transportation to foreigners, for its similar way of utilization all over the world, and it has especially good access in Korea.
The subway has no congestion by moving underground and it is easy to prepare in advance by moving according to scheduled timetable. It operates even after 10 o’clock at night so you can use it easily. However, you may also experience discomfort and become sandwiched when used in the rush hour, because there are so many people at that time.
* The interval between trains are generally 5 to 15 minutes. It is longer if you are going to a further place, but it is easy to use because the interval almost never goes over 30 minutes.
* Operating hours are generally 06:00AM to 23:00PM
* The base fare is ₩ 1,250 and additional charges are added in proportion to the distance. Moving within the city usually surcharge within 500 won (varies from region)
- City Bus
Korea has a much easier use of transportation compared to other countries because it has the characteristics that the land is narrow and densely populated. In Seoul, there are 9 lines on the subway so it became the main means of transportation, but in the province, the city bus is much more vitalized than the subway. Although you get confused which bus to take because there are too many bus routes operating, it has the biggest advantage that you can get off near your destination right away. Note that you have to press the red stop bell attached to the inner wall before you arrive the station you would like to get off, unlike the subway where it stops at every station. When you get on the bus, an announcement will be made so you have to listen carefully to the name of Korean destination.
* The interval between buses are longer than the subway. There are lots of various bus routes so it has an interval of 5 ~ 40 minutes.
* Operating hours are generally 07:00AM to 22:00PM
* The base fare for adults is about ₩ 1,200 similar to the subway fare. However additional charges are added if the bus moves outside the city. (Varies from region)
Vehicles that has a hat over the top of a car is a taxi. Taxi unlike subway or bus stops does not have a station, so they drive around the city randomly. The system operates by the passenger beckoning the taxi if there is a red light marked ‘empty car’, tell where you want to go, and the taxi drop off the passengers to the destination. Although it is a transportation you can go anywhere you want, very quickly, it is much more expensive than the subway or bus. You can save a lot of time, and it is the most convenient means of transportation if you have a lot of money.
* The base fare is about ₩ 3,000 and additional charges are added in proportion to the distance.
* Operating time is generally 24 hours. An extra charge is added from 00:00AM ~ 04:00AM.
* The fare is proportional to the distance so it varies widely, but it is approximately ₩ 3,000 ~ ₩ 15,000.
※ Transfer system
In Republic of Korea, you can take advantage of a unique system of ‘transfer’ when using a transportation card. Transfer means changing the transport ride or transit route, and if you use this transfer system, you can have the advantage of using the public transportation at an inexpensive price. If you pay in cash when using public transportation, you have to pay each of the charges when you transfer to another bus or train. But if you use T-money cards or POP cards, you will be able to use public transportation with a single charge, if you re- board the other public transport within 30 minutes.
– How to use
Subway → Bus: If you take the subway, you have to contact the card when you get on or off the station so if you use a transportation card you can get a transfer automatically.
Subway → Subway: You can transfer without any charge between subways without a transportation card.
Bus → Subway: When you get on a bus you have to pay the fare by contacting the transportation card to the card reader. This card reader is also placed where you get off the bus. If you contact the transportation card when you get off, you can use the transfer.
Bus → Bus: In case of a transfer by bus to bus you can transfer by contacting the transportation card to the card reader when you get off the bus. However, it is unable to transfer to the same bus route and even if the transfer takes too long.
- You cannot transfer if you have paid in cash. It makes transfer available using the transportation card because it is stored in digital records.
- Subway -> Bus, Bus -> Subway, Bus -> Other Bus, is available for transfer. Taxis cannot be transferred because it is not included in public transportation (However it is possible to pay the taxi fare using transportation cards.)
- Transfer latency is usually around 40 minutes. It varies at each area from 1~30 minutes and it is safe to think it is 30 minutes.
- In certain areas the transfer of bus to subway does not apply. In this area it is easier to use the bus to bus transfer.
- Transportation cards are prepaid and rechargeable cards so one must charge money in advance. Charging is possible with cash at convenience stores, subway stations, and bus stops shops.
※ Transfer Cards
Any cards that has a T-money mark can be used anywhere in Korea T-money transportation card can be purchased easily from near convenience stores and bus stop shops nearby.
Price: ₩ 2,500
Features: ₩ 100 public transport fare discount
POP card is a card with various membership benefits at a T-money card. Membership benefits are used by accumulating points so it is useful for foreigners who are staying for a long time, but for travelers who are only traveling can use the benefits of a normal T-money card. (Price, features are the same)
KB Kookmin T-money debit card is a combination of the transportation card ( T-money ) and benefits of a pop membership card , and the benefits of debit card from the most famous bank in Korea KB Kookmin Bank.
With the basic functions of T-money, you can get a ₩ 100 discount and transfer system, and you can receive various benefits with the functions of a debit card,
- It can only be issued by KB Kookmin Bank. The issuance costs and annual fee are free.
- A fee of 1.25% applies (02/07/2015 basis) when you transfer money to KB Kookmin Bank overseas, and there no extra charges when recharging a transportation card (Can be recharged in convenience stores or subways etc. just like ordinary transportation card)
- If you purchase the tickets of Republic of Korea’s most famous amusement park, Lotte World, Everland and Seoul Land it refunds 30% of the price. (Up to ₩10000)
- In addition, restaurants such as Outback Steak House, VIPS, TGIF etc. offers a 10% refund on weekdays and 15% on weekends. Also, cosmetics stores like Oliveyoung allows 10% refund of the purchase price (up to ₩5000)
* Visit the KB foreigner specialized stores so you can be issued comfortably.