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  • Seoul Metro passengers exceed the 40 billion mark

  • Press Releases SMG 3544

    – The record is set in 39 years and 6 months since the opening of the subway Line 1 in August 1974. The mark is also the first for the domestic subways.
    – The number indicates that each of the 10 million – Seoul citizens have taken the subway 4,000 times, every day for 11 years. The mark clearly shows that subway became an indispensable transportation means for the citizens.


    Seoul Metro, which runs Seoul Subway Lines 1 to 4, said that the number of its passengers exceeds the 40 billion mark on Feb. 26 (Wed). The mark is the first for the domestic subways.

    As of December, 31st, 2013, the total of 39,784,196,023 used the Seoul Metro subway lines. Given the fact that approximately 3.84 million passengers take the lines every day in Jan and Feb, the number is expected to surpass the 40 billion mark. (The annualized number of daily passengers of these lines is about 4.18 million, but in Jan and Feb, only about 3.84 million citizens use the subway every day due to the New Year holidays.)

    The number 40 billion means that every Seoul citizens take the subway 4,000 times, every day for 11 years. The record is set in 39 years and 6 months since the opening of the subway Line 1 in August, 15th, 1974. The number is also 5.6 times of the entire world population. If 40 billion people get in line with 1m distance, the line will be long enough to circle the earth 1,000 times and shuttle from the earth to the moon for 52 times.

    In the first year of the Subway Line 1, about 230,000 passengers took the line every day, which is only about 1.6 times of the daily passengers of Gangnam station, Subway Line 2, which carries about 140,000 citizens on average every day. But the number of passengers of the Line 1 increased 18 times, serving about 4.18 million people daily. The Line only had 9 stations in its opening year, but now it has more than 120 stations, an increase of more than 13 folds.

    The subway is a transportation that literally opens and closes a day of Seoul citizens. From 05:30 in the morning to 01:00 am of the next day (on weekends, the subway operates to 24:00), the subway travels the average distance of 58,000km every day. The distance is equivalent to the 1.5 times of the length around the earth, and long enough to shuttle between Seoul and Busan for 68 times.

    The daily travel distance of the subway was only about 3,000 km at the time of its opening, but now the travel distance increased by 19 times. If all the travel distances for the last 39 years and a half are added up, it amounts to 622.36 million km. The number is equal to 727,056 times of the distance between Seoul and Busan, and 15,559 times of the length around the earth.

    ※ The length around the earth: 40,000km, The distance between the earth and the moon: 380,000 km
    The distance between Seoul and Busan: 428 km

    There is an interesting story behind the serving the 40 billion passengers. Since Jan, 1996, the Seoul Metro has been distributing chewing gums to its crew members to prevent them from dozing off on the job. The daily amount of the gums consumed by the crew members is 305 packages on average. As of Feb,26th, 2014, the total of about 2 million packages of gums are consumed.

    In the meantime, the Seoul Metro will celebrate the 40 billion passengers mark with various events on 26th (Wed). Among those who take the first train of the Line 1 to 4 on that day, sixteen citizens will be randomly selected and given a transportation card charged with a monthly subway fees (worthy of KRW 45,000) from the Metro.

    An official from the Seoul Metro said, “All of us are very excited that Seoul Metro, which offers a safe and convenient transportation for citizens throughout Seoul, is about to become the first domestic Subway Lines that served 40 billion passengers. But rather than being complacent, we will continue to do our utmost for the safe and convenient travel of the passengers”