Seoul subway extension eases soldiers’ travel problems
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Getting to Seoul became a lot easier in the past few months for many Area I soldiers.
Unable to drive their own vehicles, soldiers at Dongducheon bases were once reliant on buses to Yongsan Garrison or had to transfer from trains or buses to Uijeongbu before finding the subway.
And farther south at Camp Red Cloud, servicemembers no longer have to take an expensive taxi ride or long bus trip through downtown Uijeongbu traffic to get to the station.
The Seoul Metro system’s Number One line extension opened in December and now allows servicemembers to get to popular destinations like Itaewon for as little as 1,100 won, or about $1.20, each way.
Meanwhile, the revamped Web Site — www.seoulsubway.co.kr/eng/ — gives servicemembers an interactive English-language map that helps plot the shortest routes and provides timetables.
The site also suggests several routes for sightseeing.
Bosan station is now the closest station to Camp Casey soldiers and most others in nearby Dongducheon bases. Going north, Casey servicemembers are only two stops from Soyosan, a popular mountain for climbing and recreation. Next to Soyosan are several restaurants, as well as a Korean War museum.
Headed south, getting to Noksapyeong, the closest station to Yongsan Garrison and one stop after the Itaewon entertainment district, will cost 1,400 won, or about $1.50, according to the metro Web site.
The first train out of Bosan station, located on Highway 3, leaves at 5:28 a.m., or 5:30 a.m. on Saturdays, according to the Web site.
Nokyang station, also located on Highway 3, is only about a mile from Camp Red Cloud’s back gate. The first subway train pulls out of Nokyang at 5:07 a.m. on most days, and 5:03 a.m. on Saturday.
Both stations are on the dark-blue Number One line.
The last trains from Seoul back to Nokyang or Bosan usually leave between 11 p.m. and midnight. For exact times, go to the route map at the Web site and click on the departure station.
There are three types of subway passes available that remove the need to buy tickets each time. Two — the “T-money” and “Transit card” — function identically, but T-money recharge machines are more prevalent.
“The best card we would like to recommend to the foreigners is the T-money card mainly because of its convenience,” said Kim Sang-jin of the Seoul Metro’s Inspection Authority. “With this card, you can go to any subway stations marked on the whole metro map, not to mention the free bus or minimal charge bus transfers, depending on the distance you traveled.”
Users can either prepay their cards or use them as credit cards. Kim recommends that servicemembers prepay, since a South Korean bank must issue the credit card and the process may be difficult for servicemembers.
A third type of card, the “Metro Pass,” is valid for 60 trips within 30 days for 35,200 Won, or about $38.
Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this report.