Seoul Metropolitan Subway
|Owner||Government of South Korea, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Incheon City, Bucheon City, Uijeongbu City, Yongin City and private companies|
|Locale||Seoul Capital Area|
|Transit type||Rapid transit, Commuter rail|
|Number of lines||20|
2.619 billion (2013, Lines 1-9)|
1.027 billion (2012, Korail)
|Began operation||15 August 1974|
|Operator(s)||Seoul Metro, Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation, Korail, Incheon Transit Corporation, and private rapid transit operators|
331.5 km (206.0 mi) (Seoul Metro / SMRT / Line 9 only)|
1,097.3 km (681.8 mi) (all lines)
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Seoul Metropolitan Subway is an integrated urban rail transit system consisting of 20 rapid transit, light metro, commuter rail and people mover lines located in South Korea. The system serves most of the Seoul Metropolitan Area including the Incheon metropolis and satellite cities in Gyeonggi province. Some lines in the network cross large rural areas to reach major cities in northern Chungnam province and western Gangwon province that lie over 100 km away from the capital.
The network consists of numbered lines 1–9, which serve Seoul City proper and its surroundings and named wide-area lines that serve the greater metropolitan region. Most of the system is operated by four companies – Seoul Metro, Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit (SMRT), Korail (Korea National Railroad) and Metro 9.
The first line, Line 1, started construction in 1971 and opened in 1974, with through-operation to Korail suburban railways. Today, it is one of the largest and most efficient metro systems in the world, with 331.5 km (206.0 mi) of track on lines 1–9 alone; wireless and internet service on all trains; and platform screen doors at the majority of stations.
The first line of the Seoul Subway network started construction in 1971 with economic and technical assistance from Japan. The first section of subway was built using the cheaper cut and cover construction method. Line 1 opened in 1974 with through services joining surrounding Korail suburban railway lines similar to the Tokyo subway. Today, many of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway's lines are operated by Korail, South Korea's national passenger and freight railway operator. This is similar to Europe and Japan, were the national railroad often operates local mainline urban railways, such as the S-Bahns in Germany, operated by subsidiaries of Deutsche Bahn, or JR East in Japan, which operates many other urban rail systems in Japanese cities.
It has been described as the world's longest multi-operator metro system by route length. The system was rated as one of the world's best subway systems by CNN, and Jalopnik It is notable for its cleanliness and ease of use along with advanced technology such as 4G LTE, WiFi, DMB, and WiBro accessible in all stations and trains. Nearly all stations have platform screen doors installed; only Gaewha and some minor Korail-operated stations remain with open platforms. By 2017, Korail will completely install screen doors in every station and platform. The world's first virtual mart for smartphone users opened at Seolleung Station in 2011.
All directional signs in the system are written in Korean, English and Hanja. In trains there are in addition many LCD screens giving service announcements, upcoming stop names, YTN news, stock prices and animated shorts. There are also prerecorded voice announcements that give the upcoming station, any possible line transfer, and the exiting side in Korean, followed by English. At major stations, this is followed by Japanese, then Mandarin Chinese, as well. Seoul Subway uses full-color LCD screens at all stations to display real-time subway arrival times, which are also available on apps for smartphones. Most trains have digital TV screens, and all of them have air conditioning and climate controlled seats installed that are automatically heated in the winter. In 2014, it became the world's first metro operator to use transparent displays for ads when it installed 48 transparent displays on major stations of Line 2 in Gangnam District. All lines use the T-money smart payment system using RFID and NFC technology for automatic payment by T-money smart cards, smartphones, or credit cards and one can transfer to any of the other line within the system for free.
Trains on numbered lines generally run on the right-hand track, while trains on the named lines (e.g. Shinbundang Line, Bundang Line, and AREX) run on the left-hand track. The exceptions are the trains on Line 1, as well as those on Line 4 south of Namtaeryeong Station. These lines run on the left-hand track because these rail lines are operated by Korail, South Korea's national railway operator.
Lines and branches
The system is organised such that numbered lines, with some exceptions, are considered as urban rapid transit lines located within the Seoul National Capital Area (SNCA), whereas wide-area commuter lines operated by Korail provide a metro-like commuter rail service that usually extends far beyond the boundaries of the SNCA, rather similar to the RER in Paris. The AREX is an airport rail link that links Incheon International Airport and Gimpo Airport to central Seoul, and offers both express service directly to Incheon International Airport and all-stop commuter service for people living along the vicinity of the line. While operating hours may vary depending on the line in question, the Seoul Metropolitan Subway generally operates from 5.30 am until 1 am on weekdays, and from 5.30 am until midnight on weekends.
- 15 August 1974: Opening of Seoul Subway Line 1, operating from Seongbuk Station to Incheon Station and Suwon Station.
- 9 December 1978: Yongsan - Cheongnyangni line was added to Line 1. Now part of Jungang Line.
- 10 October 1980: Opening of Seoul Subway Line 2.
- 1985: Fare system changed from charging by distance to zone, Edmondson railway ticket changed to magnetic paper ticket.
- 20 April 1985: Opening of Seoul Subway Line 4.
- 12 July 1985: Opening of Seoul Subway Line 3.
- 1 April 1994: Opening of Indeogwon - Namtaeryeong extension of Seoul Subway Line 4.
- 1 September 1994: Opening of Bundang Line, operating from Suseo Station to Ori Station.
- 15 November 1995: Opening of Seoul Subway Line 5.
- 30 January 1996: Opening of Jichuk - Daehwa extension of Seoul Subway Line 3.
- 20 March 1996: Opening of Kkachisan - Sindorim extension of Seoul Subway Line 2.
- 11 October 1996: Opening of Seoul Subway Line 7.
- 23 November 1996: Opening of Seoul Subway Line 8.
- 6 October 1999: Opening of Incheon Subway Line 1.
- 7 August 2000: Opening of Seoul Subway Line 6.
- 2004: Fare system changed back to charging by distance. Free transfers with buses introduced.
- 20 January 2005: Opening of Byeongjeom - Cheonan extension of Seoul Subway Line 1.
- 16 December 2005: Opening of Jungang Line, operating from Yongsan Station to Deokso Station.
- 15 December 2006: Opening of Uijeongbu - Soyosan extension of Seoul Subway Line 1. Shuttle metro service from Yongsan Station to Gwangmyeong Station begin operations (route now shortened from Yeongdeungpo to Gwangmyeong).
- 23 March 2007: Opening of AREX.
- 27 December 2007: Opening of Deokso - Paldang extension of Jungang Line.
- 15 December 2008: Opening of Cheonan - Sinchang extension of Seoul Subway Line 1.
- 1 May 2009: Magnetic paper ticket changed to RFID based public transportation card.
- 1 July 2009: Opening of Gyeongui Line, operating from Seoul Station to Munsan Station.
- 24 July 2009: Opening of Seoul Subway Line 9, operating from Gaehwa Station to Sinnonhyeon Station.
- 26 February 2010: Opening of Byeongjeom - Seodongtan extension of Seoul Subway Line 1.
- 21 December 2010: Opening of Gyeongchun Line.
- 28 October 2011: Opening of Shinbundang Line, operating from Gangnam Station to Jeongja Station.
- 30 June 2012: Opening of Suin Line, operating from Oido Station to Songdo Station.
- 1 July 2012: Opening of U Line.
- 27 October 2012: Opening of Onsu - Bupyeong-gu Office extension of Seoul Subway Line 7.
- 15 December 2012: Opening of Gongdeok - Gajwa extension of Gyeongui Line.
- 26 April 2013: Opening of EverLine.
- 27 December 2014: Opening of Gyeongui·Jungang Line.
- 28 March 2015: Opening of Sinnonhyeon - Sports Complex extension of Seoul Subway Line 9.
- 30 January 2016: Opening of Jeongja - Gwanggyo extension of Shinbundang Line.
- 27 February 2016: Opening of Songdo - Incheon extension of Suin Line.
- 30 July 2016: Opening of Incheon Subway Line 2.
- 24 September 2016: Opening of Gyeonggang Line.
Fares and ticketing
The Seoul Metropolitan Subway system operates on a unified transportation fare system, meaning that subways and buses in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi-do are treated as one system when it comes to fares. For example, a subway rider can transfer to any other line for free (with the exception of Shinbundang Line, EverLine and U Line, which add flat extra charges, amounting to 900, 200 and 300 won respectively). One can also transfer to any city buses for free, regardless of whether it is from Seoul, Incheon or Gyeonggi-do. In the case of Shinbundang Line, if one crosses Jeongja Station, 300 won is charged on top of the 900 won extra charge, although a cashback is offered to frequent riders between Pangyo Station and Dongcheon/Suji-gu Office Station.
Fare payments in Seoul are handled by T-money, which can also be used on buses, convenience stores and many other popular retail places. Riders must touch in a phone, card or other T-money enabled device at the entry gates. Popular methods of payments are using NFC-enabled Android smartphones (topped up or billed to the owner's credit/debit card via the T-money app) or credit or check (debit) cards with built-in RFID technology issued by the bank or card company.
The current single-use ticket is a credit card-sized plastic card with RFID technology, which can be obtained from automated machines in every subway station. A 500 won deposit fee is included in the price, and is refunded when the ticket is returned at any station. Multiple use cards are sold in convenience stores and the functionality is included in many credit/debit cards.
Fares (except for single-use tickets) are currently 1,250 won for a trip up to 10 km, with 100 won added for each subsequent 5 km. Once 50 km has been passed, 100 won will be added every 8 km. Single-use ticket users must pay RFID deposit 500 won plus 100 won surcharge to fare.
Half-priced children's tickets are available. The city government also uses Seoul Citypass as a transportation card. Senior citizens and disabled people qualify for free transit and can get a free ticket or enter and exit using side gates rather than turnstiles.
- The Gyeongui-Jungang Line will be extended one station east to Jipyeong Station by the end of 2016.
- The Ui LRT, a fully underground line, is scheduled to open in late July 2017. The line is expected to carry 110,000 passengers per day, and will have 12 stations. It will connect to Line 4 at Sungshin Women's University, Line 6 at Bomun, and Line 1 & Line 2 at Sinseol Dong.
- Shinbundang Line will open Migeum Station, a transfer to the existing Bundang Line, on October 2017.
- Line 9's Magongnaru Station will become a transfer station to AREX in 2017.
- Line 9's express trains will increase the number of subway cars from the current 4 cars per train to 6 cars per train from 2017 which is expected to further increase capacity. New trains will continue to enter service until the 2018 extension, at which this point capacity is expected to be doubled.
- The Suin Line will open Phase 3 by the end of 2017, which is an extension from Suwon Station to Hanyang University at Ansan Station via northern Hwaseong, where it connects with the Bundang Line as a single line.
- The Sosa–Wonsi Line is a 12-station line in Gyeonggi-do connecting Line 1's Sosa Station in Bucheon and Line 4's Choji Station in Ansan. Opening is expected in the first half of 2018.
- Gimpo Goldline is scheduled to open in December 2018, stretching 23.61 km over 9 stations, terminating at Gimpo Airport Station with transfers to Line 5, 9 and AREX.
- Line 5 will be extended east by December 2018 from Sangil-dong Station with three stations to serve Gangil-dong and Hanam (Misa New City, Pungsan development area).
- Line 9 is being extended eastward to Korea Veteran's Hospital Station by the end of 2018, offering a transfer to Line 8 at Seokchon Station and Line 5 at Olympic Park Station.
- Line 1 will be extended north from Dongducheon Station with five stations to Yeoncheon Station. The existing line is being double-tracked with the introduction of metro trains and services. Construction will complete in 2019.
- Suin Line's Hagik Station between Songdo Station and Inha University Station will open after 2019 once the redevelopment of the area surrounding it is completed, which will feature new cultural, commercial and medical facilities along with new residential areas.
- Line 4 will be extended east from Danggogae Station with three stations to serve the Jinjeop development area, Namyangju. Construction will complete in 2020.
- Line 5 will be extended east by March 2020 from Pungsan to Hanam city hall and Geomdan Mountain.
- Daegok-Sosa Line will open in June 2021, connecting Daegok Station of Line 3 and Gyeongui-Jungang Line to Sosa Station of Line 1, where it will connect with the Sosa-Wonsi Line as a single line. It will offer a transfer to Line 5, 9 and AREX at Gimpo Airport Station.
- Sillim Line in southwestern Seoul is scheduled to open in early half of 2021. The 11-station underground LRT line, which will provide transfers to Lines 1, 2, 7, and 9 before terminating in the south at Seoul National University.
- Line 7 will be extended west from Bupyeong-gu Office Station to Seoknam Station, offering a transfer to Incheon Subway Line 2 in 2021.
- Line 8 is being extended 6 stations northwards to Byeollae Station of the Gyeongchun Line, with a transfer to Guri Station of Gyeongui-Jungang Line along the way by 2022.
- Shinbundang Line will be extended from Gangnam Station to Sinsa Station on Seoul Subway Line 3. Further extension to Yongsan Station is also in the planning stages.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|
- Official websites by company
- Seoul city government
- The Seoul Underground Subway: Official Seoul Tourism
- English-language WMV video describing Seoul Subway history, current construction and future projects