Seoul Metropolitan Government will run nine intra-city bus routes exclusively from midnight to 5 a.m. The city has chosen ‘Owl Bus’ as the brand name for the late-night bus service, and installed LED lighting on the front, sides and interior of each bus, as well as line maps to assist citizens’ use of the service.
The city government announced that it will begin operating the service in earnest from midnight on September 12 (Thursday). The service has been expanded to nine routes by adding seven lines primarily linking areas with large numbers of post-midnight passengers, largely due to the high popularity of two pilot bus routes that have been test-operated exclusively at late night hours over the past three months and to rising demand for the new service, with 88% percent of Seoul’s citizens hoping to use the service.
The seven new routes are as follows: N13 (Sanggye-dong – Songpa Bus Garage), N16 (Dobongsan Bus Gerage – Onsu-dong), N61 (Yangcheon Bus Garage – Nowon Station), N62 (Yangcheon Bus Garage – Myeonmok-dong), N10 (Ui-dong – Seoul Station), N30 (Gangdong Bus Garage – Seoul Station), and N40 (Bangbae-dong – Seoul Station).
The seven new lines were confirmed as final choices by taking into consideration the heavy concentration of people on the move during late-night hours in Gangnam, Hongdae, Dongdaemun, Sillim and Jongno, after analyzing more than 3 billion mobile phone calls as big data. By constructing a radial-shape network linking nine outer districts of the city, with Jongno and Gwanghwamun as the hub, the lines are designed to maintain a balance between the different districts. For the longer distance lines, buses will depart simultaneously from both ends of the bus line, thereby minimizing the gap in the intervals between different directions. Passengers can also transfer at the intersections of different routes including Seoul Station, Dongdaemun, Jongno and Gangnam Station.
The bus fare, which was set at 1,050 won per trip during the test operation period, will be adjusted to 1,850 won (based on the bus card rate), i.e. the same fare as the inter-city deluxe bus, from September 12. Arrival times and operation information can be viewed on the Bus Information Terminals installed at every bus stop, as well as on the Seoul Topis mobile app (m.bus.go.kr), the Seoul Transportation Portal app, and the website (http://topis.seoul.go.kr). Furthermore, since the service runs after midnight, citizens’ safety will be assured. All buses are installed with a speeding prevention system and a protective wall for the driver. Drivers are also well remunerated to ensure they don’t have to take on other vocational activities during the daytime hours.
Owl Bus, the brand name for buses running late at night, was chosen by the Seoul Metropolitan Government through a public contest held in June. A cartoon character has also been designed to project the image of an owl operating the bus. The character will be placed along with the bus number on the LED lighting panel at the front and sides of the bus to enable passengers to easily recognize it even in the dark and from a distance. It will also be placed inside the buses and on the line maps at bus stops to allow citizens to distinguish the Owl buses from ordinary buses.