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  • Secrets to make Seoul Subway the world’s best

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    • – Highly advanced transportation card system is praised as the world’s best service
    • – 88% of subway stations can be accessed by elevators
    • – Operations of finely-tuned heating and air-conditioning, platform screen doors and multi-language information services are most popular among international tourists

    SEOUL, South Korea, July 31, 2017 – Last year, U.K. travel website Vouchercloud compiled a map that showed every country’s top-rated “Thing to Do” according to TripAdvisor, one of the world largest travel information Websites. In there, “Seoul Metro” was selected as the one thing to do in Korea.
    To see the map, click https://www.vouchercloud.com/thomson-holidays-vouchers#tripadvisor-map

    Why many tourists who had visited Seoul pick up “taking a subway in Seoul” is the best thing to do in Korea? What is the reason they are fascinated by the subway? Here are some answers to this.

    Transportation services based on advanced information technologies

    Seoul’s advanced subway card system has become one of the objects for benchmarking by many other countries. Seoul has been exporting its transportation card system to many countries and cities in the world including Malaysia and New Zealand.

    According to the Cities in Motion Index (CIMI) 2016 announced by IESE Business School, the graduate business school of the University of Navarra of Spain, Seoul ranked the first in the “mobility and transportation” area. CIMI evaluates cities’ level of development in relation to 10 key areas: governance, urban planning, public management, technology, the environment, international outreach, social cohesion, mobility and transportation, human capital and the economy. The CIMI 2016 edition includes 181 cities, including 72 capitals, representing more than 80 countries.

    Regardless of operating organizations or lines, you can transfer a subway train and pay the transportation fee at once if you have just one transportation card. If you have a pre-paid card, but have insufficient amount left in it, you may pay it at an automatic ticket machine located near a gate.

    In addition, Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market @Cheonggyecheon offers a “Sky Lantern Parade” every Saturday at 7:30pm and 8:30pm where you can stroll the Cheonggyecheon Stream holding your sky lantern. Also, other interesting programs such as “Wish Letter” event and “Dokkaebi Bottile Flip” will be offered throughout the night market’s opening hours.

    All subway stations in Seoul provide a free Wi-Fi service, which satisfies especially foreign tourists who frequently need to look for travel information or look at the map through their smartphone.

    One of the most outstanding information technology services you may get from Seoul Subway is large TV screens mounted inside the subway platform. They show how many stops away the approaching train is from the station you are at. It uses GPS technology to provide passengers accurate travel information.

    Passenger-friendly amenities for a better access

    At almost 88 percent of subway stations, you can reach from a platform to an exit or vice versa by taking the elevator, not using the stairs. Currently, elevators are being installed additionally at 11 subway stations to increase the accessibility for the disabled, elderly, strollers, young children, etc.

    Finely-tuned air-conditioning and heating system

    Most of subway seats in Seoul are neatly covered in a cloth cushion and none of which have been damaged. More surprisingly, it provides heated seats during the cold Korean wintertime to make you warm.

    In May 2016, U.S. travel information website Wander Wisdom introduced Seoul subway as one of the best 4 subways in Asia. In particular, it picked up an operation of “moderately cool cars” as the best service Seoul subways provide. They are a select few cars labeled “yak naengbang,” meaning that the air-conditioning is purposely less strong. If the air-conditioning is too strong and you feel cold in summer, you can just head to these cars for a more comfortable ride.

    Foreign language information for non-Korean speakers

    Seoul Metro, one of the two major operators of Seoul Metropolitan Subway, provides multi-language information for foreign riders, especially non-Korean speakers. At the ticket machines, all directions are provided in English, Chinese and Japanese as well as Korean. Also on the subway train, all announcements are offered in Korean and English. At a total of 72 transfer stops and last stops, Chinese and Japanese announcements are additionally provided.

    Even though there are many mobile applications to see the subway map, there are still steady demands in paper maps especially for non-Koreans. Seoul Metro updates and publishes paper subway maps twice a year in English, Chinese and Japanese, and distributes them from the information center located at 277 stations. The map also includes useful information on how to purchase single-ride transportation card, how to use travel interpretation services, how to get to major tourist information centers and other travel information for international tourists.

    Platform screen doors, the key to future subways

    Platform screen doors (PSDs) were installed at every Seoul subway station as of the end of 2009. They not only keep the passengers safe, but also provide a pleasant station environment. PSDs reduce noise levels by 7.9% and save the heating and cooling costs by 36% than before.