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  • 2017 Seoul seen through a lens of big data of public transportation cards: big data showing an increase of 1.04 million passengers a day in public transportation in Feb 2017

  • SMG 598
    • – Remarkable increase in the number of passengers in February and September 2017 when a lot of rallies and events took place including candle light vigil
    • – Subway: 1.1% traffic increase between Seoul and Gyeonggi/Incheon; rising traffic at subway stations near newly-built residential and business districts
    • – Bus: 46.4% increase in the number of Owl Bus passengers on all the 9 routes, despite the decreasing number of bus passengers in Seoul
    • – Seoul city government to “figure out the transportation demand through big data from transportation cards and improve the quality service”

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, March 20, 2018 – February 2017 posted the largest increase last year in the number of public transportation passengers, 1.04 million/day up compared to the same month last year. A lot of rallies and events such as candle light vigils led to such an increase. Meanwhile, February 2016 saw the least number of public transportation passengers (12.394 million/day) due to seasonal factors. In February last year, in contract, many rallies and events like candle light demonstrations were held all throughout Seoul. As such, February 2017 showed the biggest increase (1.04 million/day up y-o-y) in the number of public transportation passengers throughout the year. September 2017 posted the second highest increase due to 37 rallies and events (the monthly average amounts to 23 rallies and events). It can be said that rally participants and general citizens tend to use more public transportation to avoid traffic congestion when these events are held. Big data shows that Friday is the day of the week to have the largest number of public transportation passengers (15.191million/day), while Sunday with the least number of the passengers (8.467million/day). Top 5 days with the heaviest number of passengers were all Fridays (5/19, 12/22, 4/28, 5/26, and 4/7). Meanwhile, 5 days with the least number of passengers were Lunar New Year’s holidays and Chuseok holidays (1/28, 10/4, 1/27, 10/3, and 1/29).

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government analyzed the “2017 status of using public transportation in Seoul” using the big data (4.87 billion pieces of data) of transportation cards and released the survey results categorized by period and the means of transportation as below.

    < Subway traffic increased between Seoul and Gyeonggi/Incheon … traffic increasing nearby newly built residential and business districts >

    Subway traffic was increased between Seoul and Gyeonggi/Incheon. As a result, the number of subway passengers in the metropolitan area was increased 1.1% y-o-y while Seoul Metro saw a 0.2% decrease.

    (Unit: number of passengers/day, %)

    Gyeonggi Incheon
    Depart Seoul 693,251 (↑0.1%) 147,699 (↑1.8%)
    Arrive Seoul 725,360 (↑0.2%) 155,365 (↑1.4%)

    The traffic increase will remain this year as new metro subway stations are scheduled to open: Migeum Station on the Shinbundang Line in April, the Sosa–Wonsi Line (from Sosa to Wonsi) in June, Phase 3 Project of Line 9 (from Sports Complex to Bohun Hospital) in September and Gimpo city urban railway (from Yangchon to Gimpo airport) in November.

    The number of passengers by the subway line and station was increased in line with newly-built residential and business districts. While Seoul metro traffic was reduced, there were 4.9 % and 2.8 % increase y-o-y in the number of passengers on Line 8 traveling Munjeong district and Line 9 running Magok district, respectively. Subway stations within the districts under on-going development in the southeast area of Seoul showed the large increase of passengers (Munjeong, Suseo, Jamsil, and Jangji).

    Last year, free riders accounted for 14.8 % of the all subway passengers, amounting to 273.548 million. Among the free riders, the proportion of over 65-year-olds is 80.6 %. With aging society, the number of free riders is expected to grow (14.1% in 2015 and 14.3% in 2016).

    < Up to 46.4% increase in Owl Bus passengers on all the 9 routes, despite the decreasing number of bus passengers in Seoul >

    The number of bus passengers in Seoul was decreased by 1.7% y-o-y. Meanwhile, the number of passengers of the Seoul night bus, also known as the “Owl Bus” that makes Seoul’s public transportation service ceaseless, was increased by 28% on average and 46.4% at the maximum in all the 9 routes. Bus N65 started operation from November 2016 in Southwest area of Seoul where Owl Buses were not running despite heavy concentration of people on the move during late night hours. With the new bus operation, the daily average number of passengers on the route was increased 46.4% y-o-y. The Seoul Metropolitan Government started to runs Owl Bus routes linked with main subway stations on the circulation line 2. The city government also dispatched additional buses from 1am to 3am with heavy concentration of passengers to shorten the interval between buses. Those efforts are found to have contributed to the increase in the number of passengers. Owl Buses carried 3.77 million passengers (10,692 persons a day) in total last year. Bus N61 (from Shinjung-dong to Nowon Station) saw the largest number of passengers (1,936 persons a day on average), running the longest distance (90 km back and forth) among the Owl Buses..

    The Seoul Metropolitan government has released the 「2017 status of using public transportation in Seoul」 on its official website (http://traffic.seoul.go.kr/) based on big data analysis of transportation cards. In the report, the data is organized by quarter.