Riding a Public Bus in Seoul
Why do we need to ride a bus when the subway is so convenient in Seoul?
- Faster – sometimes it’s easier and faster to reach your desired destination because you don’t have to transit/tranfer to another line like subway
- Rollercoaster experience – I have to warn you that the bus drivers in Seoul are pretty crazy. Hold on to the rails or seats nearest to you once you embark on the bus otherwise you will suffer. ^^ Those with weaker heart, get yourself a puke bag.
- Save on transfer fare – When paying with your T-money card, the fare is 900 won up to 10 km, and includes up to 5 free transfers using both local buses and subway. An extra 100 won will be charged for an additional 5 km. Transfer must be made within 30 minutes (within 60 minutes between 21:00 and 07:00).Transfers cannot be made to a bus of the same number.You cannot transfer subway lines once you’ve exited the gates. I made a mistake of going out from Chungmuro Station once when I should have not. Had to tap the T-money card one more time. T_T
- When the bus stop is nearer to the venue you want to visit/your location compared to the subway station
Blue, Green, Yellow or Red?
Blue (Main Line) – working within city limits and going from subway station to subway station, travel a little further out than green
Green (Branch Line) – working within city limits and going from subway station to subway station, have the more local routes than blue
Yellow (circular Line)- run on circular routes in downtown Seoul for easier access to major shopping and business areas
Red (Wide Area Line)- less stops and run between downtown Seoul and the metropolitan area
What you get with your T-Money card?
When you buy T-Money card, it is attached with a few discount coupons for items at local stores or admissions to tourist spots. If you still have balance available in the card, you can either refund it from the self-service refund machine/ticket counter. Otherwise, just purchase any items from the convenience shops using the remaining balance and keep the card for momento. ^^
It is unlikely that the route map list will be in English. From what I see, only the major stop like subway stations have the English translation or none at all. Drivers don’t always stop at the scheduled bus stops so you need to be aware and stop them. Some bus stops are in the middle of the road like in Gangnam. Weird eh?
What I like about Seoul public bus?
- Recorded announcement for each of the bus stops – even if I don’t understand Korean, If I listen to the announcement, I could guess when and where my next stop will be. For example, if you want to stop at Myeongdong Station, the recorded announcement will mention: Myeongdong Yeok. (명동 역). I wish Malaysian bus have the same thing.
- You could pay for more than one person using the same T-Money card. – I didn’t have enough balance in my T-Money card when I wanted to ride a bus to Yongin. So, Chi Won tapped her card and informed the bus driver to charge it twice. It is so convenient!
- Some major bus stations are equipped with arrival time of the bus. – When I waited for Hye Won at Bupyeong Station 부평역 in Incheon I saw the arrival time of the incoming buses at an electronic board. I’m not sure whether they use GPS to calculate the time difference but it was fantastic!