The Donghae Line began operating today, bringing the number of lines on Busan’s metro system to six.
The new commuter railway is the first stage of a metro connection between Busan and Ulsan, and stretches from Bujeon Station to Ilgwang (Gijang-gun). The line is 28.5km long and stops at 14 stations, including transfer points at Geoje (Line 3), Busan Nat’l Univ. of Edu (Line 1) and Bexco (Line 2).
The route is similar to Seoul’s Line 1 in that it shares its track with the national rail network – the first of its type outside of the Seoul Capital Area. This means that standard train passengers can also transfer to the line at stations such as Gijang, Sinhaeundae and Bexco to reach their destinations faster. You may remember that we talked about the line just over three years ago when the old section of the Donghaenambu Line was closed and replaced with the current one, resulting in the loss of the old Haeundae Station.
While the Donghae Line will make travel more convenient for residents of Gijang and commuters in the south-east of Busan, passengers will need to take note that the trains operate every 15 minutes during the peak times of 7am – 9am and 6pm – 8pm. Outside of those times the services only operate every 30 minutes, meaning anyone using the line will need to check schedules if they don’t want to risk a long wait. The timetable is available in excel format from the Korail website here (Korean).
The trains have four carriages, and a total of 96 services operate on weekdays, with just 88 services during the weekend. Of course, as its part of metro system fares are standard, and you can transfer from other lines and buses with your transport card. It’s hoped that the regional rail will stimulate development in neighboring cities and reduce traffic congestion.
The next phase of the line from Ilgwang to Taehwagang (formerly Ulsan) is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2018. Once the line is open, the connection between the two cities will be 65.7km long with 22 stations.