I am constantly amazed at how much Korea’s transportation system has improved since my first arrival in this country. I am sure that many of you old timers will remember the illustrious “push men” – the young men hired to literally shove passengers into the super-crowded subways. Considering the number of people on those subways and the inability of anyone to move – and this is no exaggeration – including their arms, it is amazing that there were no serious accidents. At the time, there were only four or five subway lines and all of them were busy.
Now we have subways everywhere. I can remember I was especially pleased when subway line #9 (the gold line) opened because it made my own transportation that much easier. It is getting to the point that sometime in the near future we will be able to travel from Uijongbu to Busan. There are already subway lines in Daegu, Busan, Daejon, Gwangju, Incheon, and, of course, Seoul.
Apparently there is another line – the Yongin Line. The line was started in December 2005 and completed in June 2010 but still has not been opened. Accord to Koject (with pictures):
Though the line was ready to begin operating, opening dates were repeatedly postponed. There has been much speculation over reasons why the line has lay dormant and several articles have mentioned different factors including risk of revenue loss without the Bundang Line extension. What can be said for sure is that Yongin residents must be extremely frustrated watching their brand new mode of transport towering over their city simply collecting dust. Officials have been calling for the line to be put in service but as of yet no date has been announced.
Subways in Korea are a great way to travel (provided you avoid the drunks at night – Koreans and foreigners) around the city at a very reasonable price. The blog Seoul Sub-urban is a great site to visit if you would like to learn more about Seoul’s subway system and the sites around each of the stations.