Seoul Investigates 24 Hour Friday Night Services for Line 7

Source: Wikicommons

Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit (SMRT) is investigating the possibility of operating subway services around the clock on one of its lines for one day a week.

On March 11, SMRT announced that it has plans to add overnight services to Line 7 on Saturday mornings from 1am to 5am. Services would operate every 20 minutes throughout the night between Jangam (장암) and Onsu (온수) Stations. The extended section of Line 7 from Onsu to Bupyeong-gu Office (부평구청) will not be included in the trial.

Currently, Friday night subway services on Line 7 stop at 1am on Saturday morning and start again around 5:30am.

SMRT says that it plans to follow in the footsteps of other cities overseas, such as New York and London, which operate 24 hour trains. Having completed preliminary investigations, the company will now meet with researchers and aim to get the trial underway in the second half of next year.

Fares for the early morning services will likely be more expensive, SMRT saying that a different system would be adopted to cover the extra cost and added convenience provided. The cost of hiring more staff and improving facilities for the trial is estimated to cost 2.6 billion won.

 

Getting a taxi on a Friday night in Gangnam isnt easy. Source:

Getting a taxi on a Friday night in Gangnam isnt easy. Source: TFurban

While nothing is set in stone yet, it’s exciting news and something that many residents have been wanting for a long time. In 2013, Seoul trialed night bus services across the city and ended up adding seven other routes after the trial was a success.

It’s hoped that trialing all-night services will also reduce road congestion, particularly in popular areas such as Gangnam which Line 7 travels through.With most public transport stopping at around 1am on Friday nights, there is often a rush for the final bus or train, and catching a taxi in the early hours can also be a challenge due to the number of people heading home after a night out on the town.

If the Line 7 trial proves popular, then there is a possibility that we’ll see similar services on other lines. If this happens it will be interesting to see whether taxi drivers come out in opposition of such services.

Source: Yonhap | hankooki

 

About This Author

<p>Originally from New Zealand, Andy moved to Korea in 2007 and very quickly became interested in the many different public transport and urban development projects around Korea. He currently lives in Sejong city and is particularly interested in rail projects, transport hubs and technology.</p>

7 Comments

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  • Hi, great site, just came across it this morning. I’m curious — how much influence does the taxi lobby have in this? I can imagine they’d be fighting this tooth and nail.

    Douglas 2 years ago Reply


    • I have fond memories catching the last buses when returning home from a night out…..each time it resembled images of the last helicopter out of saigon :D

      Douglas 2 years ago Reply


      • Dear Douglas,

        thank you for the comment. For example, the taxi driver’s union in Korea is really big. This article from 2012 shows their size: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-06-19/south-korean-taxi-drivers-go-on-first-nationwide-strike

        But here it’s probably the taxi industry as a stakeholder. It is often said that they oppoes a 24h public transport in Seoul. The news articles don’t mention the taxi industry and their opinion on this specific measure. But I believe that they’ll protest an expansion of this measure. They were also against the night buses but they couldn’t stop it. Let’s see how it works with the night trains!

        Nikola 2 years ago Reply


  • As much as I hate to wait this long for just the trial of one night of a section of a single line, it’s something sorely needed, and I hope this means they develop a solid plan and take it seriously.

    Philip Partington 2 years ago Reply


  • Any insight into why Line 7 was selected for the trial?

    I would have thought line 2 would make the obvious choice, as it passes through most busy areas. Also, being a circle line, ridership would likely be more evenly distributed over the entire line.

    Among the SMRT lines (5-8), I would think line 6 would make a good candidate, as it passes through both the Hongdae (Sangsu) and Itaewon nightlife hotspots.

    Leif Karlen 2 years ago Reply


    • I imagine it’s because Line 7 is mostly, if not completely underground (it has the deepest subway stations in Korea) and it travels both north-south (Uijeongbu to Gangnam) and east-west (all the way past Bucheon).

      Tom Tunnel 2 years ago Reply


      • Hi Tom,

        Somewhat off topic, but for the sake of trivia, which stations on line seven are the deepest? I was always under the impression that that distinction went to the Yeouinaru–Mapo underwater crossing on line five, but perhaps that’s changed?

        Thanks.

        Philip Partington 2 years ago Reply


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