Late night buses (a.k.a. owl buses), which came into operation in nine routes in September, appear to have become part of Seoulites’ culture. According to records, a total of 304,000 people used them in 50 days, i.e., an average of 6,000 people a day or 138 people per bus, compared to 110 people per bus operating during the day.
Records show that N26 (Gangseo – Jungnang) topped the list in terms of the number of passengers (1,214 a day), followed by N37 (Eunpyeong – Songpa) (946 a day), N61 (Sinjeong – Nowon) (880 a day), and N16 (Dobong – Onsu) (868 a day).
By day of the week, the buses carried more passengers in the wee hours of Saturday than on other days of the week. The average number of late night bus passengers on Saturday stood at 7,333, which is 1,254 more than the number of passengers taking buses during the day, followed by Wednesday (6,731), Friday (6,611), Thursday (6,536), and Sunday (6,166).
As a result of our analysis, the number of passengers displayed a difference depending on the following factors: ▲ distance of operation; ▲ whether a bus stops at places near subway stations, and; ▲ whether a bus goes through Jongno or Gangnam. As for the five routes whose number of passengers recorded higher than average and whose distance of operation is longer than 70 km, they stop at more than 20 at places near subway stations and pass through Jongno or Gangnam.
The number of people reporting taxis refusing to take passengers arbitrarily was found to have been reduced by 8.9% (i.e., 108 cases) compared to the same period last year after the launch of the late night bus system. Late night buses are believed to have reduced people’s need to take taxis.
We at Seoul Metropolitan Government will take steps to improve the late night bus system considering the result of the analysis made over the past 50 days and passengers’ opinions submitted. With regard to routes with many passengers, we will reduce congestion through the readjustment of the hours of the first and last buses and routes. Crackdown will be made on illegal parking near bus stops for the safety of late night bus passengers. Lights will be made brighter, and boarding platforms will be placed at 20-plus bus stops.
We will also examine the need to expand the routes of late night buses and readjust the existing routes. We will continue improving the system, listening carefully to people’s opinions.