Namsan Tower (Yonhap)
The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced Tuesday that it will replace all 27 buses on four of the green circuit bus lines that travel along the Namsan Park area with electric, low-floor buses.
The bus routes go to Namsan Park, Myeong-dong, Seoul Station, Insa-dong, and the main palace Gyeongbokgung. The city will ban diesel tour buses that used to pick up and carry group tourists from entering Namsan Park.
Namsan Park was designated a “clean-air district” in 2015, showing off its presence as a trending travel destination for tourists using the green circuit buses in downtown Seoul.
However, the city announced that a number of complaints have been filed over the past years, due to the idling of tourist buses causing noise and smoke, as well as buses often ignoring sidewalks and cycling paths, using them as parking zones.
Meanwhile, in 2019 the annual total of buses crossing Namsan Park reached 58,000, or 160 bus visits per day. Some 9.82 million tourists visited the park in the same year.
Through the execution of the electric-bus-only system, the park which stands in the center of Seoul is expected to be reborn as “Seoul’s Lungs.”
Restrictions on diesel-powered tour buses will be given a two-month grace period for further promotion and guidance. Afterwards, the government will require the use of diesel-powered tourist buses only up to the Yejangjarak public parking lot.
Yejangjarak parking lot was newly built in December 2020 to suit the needs of electric buses, equipped with charging stations. Passengers can then transfer to a green bus at the parking lot.
Hwang Bo-yeon, head of Seoul Metropolitan’s Transportation Office, said in a press release that continuous efforts will be made for the city to gradually transition to eco-friendly public transportation, shifting gears from compressed natural gas-powered buses to electric and hydrogen.
By Kim Hae-yeon (firstname.lastname@example.org