Seoul’s New Public Bicycle System

Megacities like Paris, London and New York initiated public bicycle sharing systems with the goal to raise the share of cycling. New York has their Citi bikes, London has the Boris bikes (or officially known as Barclays Cycle Hire) and Paris begun in 2007 the world-famous Vélib’. These are all huge systems with thousands of bicycles. Once, we gave an overview of systems in Korea and until now Seoul offers only two small bike-sharing services with around 340 bicycles. This year the bicycle policy team from Seoul’s transport division was unbelievably busy with setting up a new master plan for the development of such a system. A new public bicycle sharing system will be implemented in five areas in Seoul. It is the beginning of a city-wide bike service and the transformation of Seoul’s road infrastructure to a more diverse network. Read more of this post

Dalweol & Weonheung Stations to Open on 27 December

Most years a number rail/metro projects will end up being scheduled to open on the same day and this year is no different. Along with the connection between the Gyeongui and Jungang Lines mentioned in my previous post, two stations Dalweol Station (달월역) and Weonheung Station (원흥역) will be opening on this day.
Read more of this post

Gyeongui Line & Jungang Line to Finally Connect

It’s almost the end of the year already! Living away from Korea and having a fairly busy job has kept me from blogging. Thanks so much to my co-blogger Nikola for helping to keep Kojects alive despite being busy with this own work.

Nevertheless I’m still keeping my eye on developments – particularly on rail projects – and to be honest it has been fairly quiet with not too many major happenings in the last two years. (Still waiting on that Maglev to open!)

Korail321908One major change coming up very soon is the final connection between the Gyeongui Line (경의선) and the Jungang Line (중앙선). From 27 December 2014 a section of track between Gongdeok Station (공덕역) and Yongsan Station (용산역) will open — finally connecting the two lines.

With the direct connection in place, the two services will now operate as one. This means you’ll be able to travel from Munsan Station (문산역) near the DMZ all the way down to Yongmun Station (용문역) in the south-eastern area of Gyeonggi Province. The new service will cut up to 30 minutes off a trip between these two stations – though I imagine this is a journey that not many would regularly make! Read more of this post

Bus Number Signs

A problem in taking a bus in Seoul was always that you have to be careful to not miss it. Your bus might have hid behind another bus and just started off before the other vehicle. Or on the median bus lanes the buses piled up and it was impossible to read the number of every bus. Seoul solved this problem without any costs and it raised the convenience of Seoul’s public transportation system even more.

How did Seoul solve that? Read more of this post

Songdo, revisited!

I’ve kept my promise of visiting Songdo in summer 2014! Songdo changed a lot since my last visit in winter 2013. First of all, there were more people on the streets. But it was also 40 degree warmer. Second, many new buildings were constructed or opened. The tallest skyscraper of South Korea opened: the Northeast Asia Trade Tower. It felt like a day isn’t enough to explore Songdo because it hosts so many different buildings, places and activities.

Many people visited and wrote about Songdo since the last visit. For example, Steve Miller made a video about the Incheon Global Campus of Songdo (here’s an article about that campus). Many international organizations moved to Songdo, among them are the Green Climate Fund and World Bank. Just some days ago there was an article about the smart city and eco-city concept of Songdo. In the Guardian Cities Colin Marshall summarized Songdo “as possibly the most humane space of its type”.  Songdo IBD also published a new promotional video about Songdo.

This time I’ve tried to visit places like the Canal Walk and the undeveloped western part that I missed the last time. I’ve took a bicycle to visit less accessible areas.  Read more of this post

The Success of Tayo Buses

Earlier this year Seoul decorated four of their buses with the main characters of the famous Korean cartoon show “Tayo the Little Bus” (꼬마버스 타요). Within a short time it became a huge success. Parents make a pilgrimage to bus stops with their children in order to ride their heroes from the TV show.

Tayo_Bus_4

All that it took was a pair of eyes and a smile on the front of the bus. On the side and the rear of the vehicles are drawings of the Tayo characters. It’s probably one of the most successful measures to promote the usage of buses towards children and parents. Read more of this post

Opinion Piece on Banning Standing Passengers

During the research for the previous article about the government’s plans to ban standing on the red buses, I came across an opinion piece by Dr. Jaehak Oh, who works for the Korea Transport Institute. You can find an interview about his background and work here. The article I want to introduce was written back in June, shortly after the government unveiled their plans.

I won’t comment on the content of the article. Here’s my translation (There could be some errors and misinterpretations.): Read more of this post

No More Standing in Red Buses

Update – 30 August 2014: After a month the measure was revoked. The number of buses will be increased by 200 vehicles, as I stated in the blog post. But it won’t be illegal to allow standing passengers. The number of standing passengers decreased from 18% to 7%. The main reason for revoking the measure is that in September the new semester at university begins and the number of bus passengers will be higher than now. So, we are back to normal and it’s allowed to stand in the red Kyeonggi-buses.

 

A huge change awaits the public transportation in the capital region of Korea: In order to improve convenience and safety of buses, standing passengers won’t be allowed anymore on the majority of red buses. This measure was announced by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) in June and next week the measure will be implemented. Read more of this post

Yonsei-ro, Seoul’s First Transit Mall

Seoul_Transit_Mall (11)A transformation took place in Sinchon (신촌), a popular nightlife area in front of Yonsei University! Seoul forbids private cars on the main road Yonsei-ro since January 2014. This measure was accompanied by a overall facelift of that street. The 500 meters from Sinchon Station to Yonsei University became the first transit mall of Seoul. Last Friday I had the chance to explore the area. In my opinion, it is an outstanding project and the area improved immensely. Others areas in Seoul and all over Korea are going to get transit malls, too. Let me explain the details of Korea’s transit mall concept. I’ve made many pictures of the new Yonsei-ro in order to make it easier to understand.  Read more of this post

Bicycle Paths on Jeju-Do

Korea is a great country for leisure cycling. This can be experienced first hand at the major rivers and on Jeju-do, the largest island of South Korea. I’ve traveled to Jeju-do and cycled along the shore for a week. The island is very special in many aspects. Here I want to take a closer look at the bike infrastructure because  Jeju-do offers certain types of bike lanes.

This was my route (each color represents a different day):

Jejubicycle

Please click here for an interactive Google Map! As usual for cycling tours around Jeju, the route was anti-clockwise. I recorded the trip with Strava and at the end it said that I cycled 283 km.  Read more of this post

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