Premium Express Buses to Operate from September

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced the launch of a new “Premium Gold Express” (PGE) bus service earlier this week to rival the business class cabins on trains and airlines. MOLIT announced the start of operations for the new buses at an event in Sejong City earlier this week where journalists and regular passengers got to experience the new service for themselves.

The new express buses are an upgrade of the current “Udeung” services which offer more comfortable seating and room than regular intercity buses. The PGE has luxuries that you would normally expect to find in the business class section of an airplane, and will be the first major upgrade of intercity bus services since the Udeung buses were introduced in 1992.

Hyundai and Kia have both made vehicles for the services which are targeted at businesspersons, passengers on long trips and overnight buses. Here is a comparison of the premium buses from each company.

Premium Bus Korea

Source: MOLIT

Premium Gold Express Service – Features and Upgrades

  • The number of seats in the bus has been reduced from 28 to 21 for more legroom.
  • Seats in Udeung buses only recline up to 139°, whereas PGE seats let you lie back a bit more at 165°.
  • Seats are also controllable via buttons and offer more privacy with individual curtains.
  • Each seat has a fold out table with reading light, plus USB ports so passengers can charge mobile devices.
  • All seats have their own monitor and entertainment system, similar to what you would find in an airplane, that offers movies, TV, music and games.
  • Other things you’d expect like cup holders, footrest, pillow and a coat hanger.

Where do they go and how much will services cost?

The buses will begin commercial operations in time for the Chuseok holiday period on September 12. Two routes will be offered, one between Seoul and Gwangju (12 per day), and the other between Seoul and Busan (15 per day).

While the service may look it would be expensive, prices are actually quite reasonable. One-way tickets will cost 33,900 to Gwangju and 44,400 to Busan, 30% more than what an Udeung ticket costs. Given that the price is still cheaper than taking a KTX and offers better facilities than first class train cabins, the new premium services should prove to be competitive.

MOLIT will be keeping an eye on the demand for the buses, and it plans to expand the service to other areas from 2017.

 

Interior

Source: MOLIT

 

About This Author

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.

6 Comments

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  • Hi Andy ,
    good to see the post .
    You didn’t highlight the Travelling Period ..
    One question : Two routes will be offered, one between Seoul and Gwangju (12 per day), and the other between Seoul and Busan (15 per day). 12 per day and 15 per day … did you mean per month ???? I am little confused … Hopefully ;ll inform us .. Good stay in the RoK .

    Masud Selim 8 months ago Reply


  • Hi Masud, thanks for reading. The travelling time is the same as any other bus that travels to Gwangju or Busan. What’s written is correct, there will be 12 and 15 of these buses operating per day between Gwangju and Busan respectively. Only 12 services a month wouldn’t be a very good business model!

    Andy Tebay 8 months ago Reply


  • I would just like to ask how long does a trip from Seoul to Busan will take and if there is a return trip from Busan to Seoul? Thanks!

    Claire De Guzman 5 months ago Reply


    • A trip from Seoul to Busan by bus takes around 4 hours (always depending on traffic). Return tickets can be bought, as far as I know.

      Nikola 4 months ago Reply


  • How does one reserve a seat on these buses? Do the buses make stops at other
    cities on their way to their destinations?

    Ann 4 months ago Reply


    • Sadly, the premium bus isn’t yet operating and KOBUS didn’t yet give an update on when we’ll have them. Thus, we also can’t say for 100% where the bus makes stops along the route Seoul-Busan. But later (once they are introduced), you will be able to reserve a ticket on their website (http://www.kobus.co.kr/web/eng_new/main.jsp) by selecting the category ‘Premium’.

      Nikola 4 months ago Reply


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