Transportation in Seoul
Seoul's transportation boom dates back to the era of the Korean Empire, when the first streetcar lines were laid and a railroad linking Seoul and Incheon was completed. Today, as a result of the diversification of Seoul's transportation network, it has become a great transportation hub for Asia.
There are two airports that serve Seoul. Gimpo International Airport, formerly in Gimpo but annexed to Seoul in 1963, was the only airport for Seoul from its original construction during the Korean War. Multiple airports were built in and around Seoul immediately before, during, and after the war. The most famous was on Yeouido, which once served as the country’s gateway to the world.
Upon opening in March 2001, Incheon International Airport on Yeongjong island in Incheon changed the role of Gimpo Airport significantly. Incheon is now responsible for almost all international flights and some domestic flights, while Gimpo serves only domestic flights with the exception of flights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo. This has led to a significant drop in flights from Gimpo Airport.
Meanwhile, Incheon International Airport has become, along with Hong Kong and Singapore, a major transportation centre for East Asia. The 2005 AETRA passenger survey, jointly administered by the IATA and Airports Council International, voted it the best airport in the world. It was named by Skytrax as the world's 5th best airport for 2006.
Incheon and Gimpo are linked to Seoul by highways, and Gimpo is also linked by subway (line #5). The Incheon International Airport Railroad, a rail line connecting Incheon Airport to Gimpo Airport opened in March 2007, but the line to Seoul Station in central Seoul will take at least a year more to open. Shuttle buses transfer passengers between Incheon and Gimpo airports.
Seoul's bus system is operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. It consists of four primary bus configurations available that service most of the city.
Seoul has many big intercity/express bus terminals. These buses are connecting Seoul and cities all around Korea. Major bus terminals are
- Seoul Express Bus Terminal in Seocho-gu
- Central City in Seocho-gu
- Seoul Nambu Terminal, also in Seocho-gu
- Dongseoul Bus Terminal in Gwangjin-gu
- Sangbong Terminal in Jungnang-gu
Seoul has 14 subway lines that interlink every district of the city with one another and with the surrounding area. The majority of the population now uses the public transportation system due to its convenience and low cost. With more than 8 million passengers a day, Seoul has one of the busiest subway systems in the world. In addition, in order to cope with all of these transportation modes, Seoul's metropolitan government employs several mathematicians to coordinate the subway, bus, and traffic schedules into one timetable.
There are two tiers of taxis - Regular (일반 택시, Ilban taxi), and Deluxe (모범 택시, Mobeom taxi).
Regular taxis start at 2400 won for the first two kilometers and are metered at 100 won every 159 meters, which equates to about 695 won per kilometer. If the taxi is going less than 15 km per hour, an additional charge of 100 KRW per 37–39 seconds is added to the fare. A 20% surcharge is added between midnight and 4 am. These are typically white or silver in color but also can be seen in yellow.
Deluxe taxis start at 4500 won for the first three kilometers and are metered at 200 won every 164 meters. Their name could also be translated as "Model Taxi" as their service should be an example of what a proper taxi is. Deluxe taxis do not have nightly surcharges.
Seoul is connected to every major city in Korea by railroad. Seoul is also linked to most major Korean cities by the KTX bullet train which features a normal operation speed of more than 300 km/h, making commuting between cities extremely convenient for commuters and tourists. Major railroad stations include:
- Seoul Station, Jung-gu - Gyeongbu line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa-ho), Gyeongui line (Saemaul/Commuter)
- Yongsan Station, Yongsan-gu - Honam line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa), Jeolla/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)
- Yeongdeungpo Station, Yeongdeungpo-gu - Gyeongbu/Honam/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)
- Cheongnyangni Station, Dongdaemun-gu - Gyeongchun/Jungang/Yeongdong/Taebaek lines (Mugunghwa)