CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — A three-month trial program will give U.S. Army Garrison-Red Cloud soldiers direct bus service to Osan Air Base beginning Friday, garrison officials said Tuesday.
The new service will shave an hour or more off the current schedule, which requires passengers to transfer at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul.
One-way tickets will cost $11.50 or 11,400 won regardless of whether the passenger leaves from Camp Red Cloud or Camp Casey, officials said.
Myung Jin and New Kyongdong Tour Bus Co. will run the new route together on Fridays, weekends, national holidays and training holidays.
The companies are looking for an average of at least 12 riders per trip to make the route permanent, said Song In-kyong, traffic management specialist for Installation Management Command-Korea.
Three buses per day, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday, will leave Camp Casey. On weekends, six buses per day will leave from Camp Casey, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The last bus leaves Osan at 9 p.m. With considerably more foreigner-friendly shopping available outside the gate, as well as a Chili’s restaurant on base, Osan is a draw for soldiers and civilians living within the garrison, also known as Area I.
However, nearly all servicemembers in Area I are not allowed to drive personal vehicles. Taking the on-post bus from Red Cloud in Uijeongbu currently takes one hour to get to Yongsan Garrison, followed by transfer time and another 60 to 90 minutes to get to Osan.
Passengers originating from Dongducheon tack on another 40 minutes.
The new route will take the Seoul Ring Expressway, which bypasses the city.
It’s a welcome change, said Corinne Carrisal, a civilian working in the housing office at Camp Red Cloud.
"I think it’s great," she said. "Anything to make it easier to get back and forth."
Servicemembers at Camp Red Cloud can also take express buses to Osan city and Songtan from the city bus terminal for 6,600 won plus taxi fare, each way. There are no express buses from Dongducheon to Osan, bus terminal officials said.
Stars and Stripes reporter Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this report.