The world’s largest travel information website TripAdvisor, in their list of One Thing Every Tourist Should Do in _______, listed taking the subway in Seoul while in Korea. What’s so great about the subway in Seoul? We would like to take this opportunity to introduce to you how Seoul Metro introduces examples of their satisfactory service and impressive facilities complemented by foreigners.
Numerous countries benchmark the transportation card system of the Seoul Subway. The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) exported the system to many countries and cities around the world. In 2016, Seoul ranked first in the urban transportation category of the world city development evaluation conducted by a business school in Spain.
The Seoul Subway allows transfers with a single card regardless of the operating company or line and fare collection is made at once. When you have an insufficient balance due to going beyond the section you have paid for, you can immediately recharge your card at a fare machine located near the gates.
Foreign tourists who heavily rely on tourist information or maps are very appreciative of the WI-FI service provided by the Seoul Subway. BBC evaluated the 4G-based WI-FI service to be the best system in the world. CNN of the United States also introduced the wireless internet service of the Seoul Subway as the best subway system in the world.
One other IT service provided by the Seoul Subway that foreigners’ find amazing is a train destination signboard that informs users of the arrival of trains 3 to 4 stops ahead of time.
88% of stations in Seoul can be accessed from platforms to exits just using an elevator. This is more than three times the rate compared to the Tube in London. Seoul Metro is in the process of installing new elevators in addition to the current 11 to further increase the installation rate of user convenience facilities.
Foreigners were deeply impressed by the delicate air conditioning and heating system of Seoul Subway. New Yorker Palash Ghosh said in her article on the on-line news media ‘International Business Times,’ “Seoul Subway has seats covered in cloth but none of the seats are damaged. The seats are even heated in the winter.”
The Seoul Subway makes announcements in multiple languages so that foreigners can use the service without experiencing any discomfort. Users can select among English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean when buying a one-time pass at a transportation card machine. All trains make announcement s in Korean and English in that order and 72 major transfer stations and last stations on a line also provide announcements in Chinese and Japanese. Seoul Subway publishes a subway map for foreigners that contains English, Chinese and Japanese twice a year and places them at the information center of all 277 stations.
‘Business Insider,’ an American news site, expressed interested in the state-of-the-art facilities in Seoul Subway stations in an article written in December 2015. In it, Business Insider introduced the platform safety door as a leading facility of the Seoul Subway that significantly reduces noise and accidents. The platform safety door in Seoul Subway stations was completed for installation in 2009 at all stations. The noise level was improved by 7.9% and the air conditioning and heating expenses were reduced by 36%.