Seoul Metro offers unique facilities in Seoul subway stations in order to actualize a pleasant station environment and passengers’ convenience. Just three years ago, mops and buckets were used for washing the stairs and floors of platforms and waiting rooms of subway stations. Now, the wet vacuum cleaner has replaced mops and buckets. The wet vacuum cleaner was introduced to prevent the occurrence of breakdowns or corrosion of railways or other machines due to the flow of water in the course of cleaning. It is an expensive device that costs up to KRW 4-6.5 million and is as heavy as 200 kg.
It was for the safety of subway facilities that the wet vacuum cleaner was introduced, but it also enhanced efficiency in the operation of the cleaning crew. Before, to clean 1,000 m2 in one hour, five cleaners were needed. Now, only one cleaner is required to do the same task. An official from Seoul Metro said, “The day of and the day after an emergency announcement for reducing particulate matter, we operate an additional cleaning with the wet vacuum cleaner. This will contribute to the reduction of particulate matter in underground spaces.”
The trash cans installed on platforms and in waiting rooms in subway stations are being transformed as well. 18.9-liter liquid collecting cans are being added for passengers to be able to discard leftover beverages. Before, it was common for a trash can in the subway station to stink because of disposable cups containing leftover coffee or juice, with dirty surroundings as the liquid spilled out.
Based on the idea of workers of Seoul Metro to solve the problem, liquid collecting cans were installed for the first time in September 2018 in three stations, including Gangnam Station. Now, passengers can use the 40 liquid collecting cans in 11 stations, including Sinchon Station, Seoul National University Station, and Gwanghwamun Station. Even if one cannot find a liquid collecting can, however, one should discard the liquid and the cup separately.
In the middle of the night, after the operation of trains has finished, large tongs, as long as 2 meters, appear in the subway stations. These tongs are useful tools for picking up items that passengers have dropped in the gap between the train and the platform. With safety ensured, as gap cleaning occurs during the hours in which trains are not in operation, the subway staff opens the safety door and collects the missing articles dropped on the railway using the tongs.
The items that are most often dropped through the narrow gap include mobile phones, wallets, earphones, glasses, and umbrellas. In July, a passenger who was getting on the train at Gangdong-gu Office Station dropped a cardigan and was able to get it back. When trains are crowded, passengers should pay attention so that their items do not slip from their hands when getting on or off the train.
Dapsimni Station (Line 5) is the only station among the 277 stations operated by Seoul Metro where passengers can find a salad vending machine. Sales in June, its first month of operation, reached KRW 2.82 million and increased by 43 % last month to KRW 4.03 million. Seoul Metro is considering the additional establishment of salad vending machines in Euljiro 3-ga Station and Chungjeongno Station.