The Korea Herald


Subway pass available for foreign tourists

By Korea Herald

Published : Dec. 28, 2011 - 21:14

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The government said it began issuing special subway passes on Wednesday for foreign tourists in efforts to facilitate their use of public transportation.

With the new services, travelers can buy passes available for a certain period of time ― one, two, three, five or seven days ― at tourism information centers at Incheon airport. Prices range from 10,000 won ($8.60) for a one-day ticket to 59,500 won for week-long use, plus a 5,000 won refundable deposit. Each of the passes is limited to 20 rides per day.

The Metropolitan Pass, or M-Pass, covers not only color-coded lines in and around Seoul but other subway systems and airport railroads run by KORAIL, a state-run railway operator, officials said.

“Foreigners will be able to top cash on their pass to pay in convenience stores and taxis, and receive discounts at some tourist attractions, restaurants and shopping malls,” the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said in a statement.

The ministry has been crafting methods since early this year to make it easier for foreign tourists to travel around Seoul, many of whom have been inconvenienced when paying transit fares.

In the Seoul metropolitan area, they can use a rechargeable transit card called T-money like most local residents, but polls showed that some travelers found it difficult to buy one or get a refund on leftover card credit given their short-term trips.

According to a survey on foreigners living in Seoul by the Korea Transport Institute, 74 percent of respondents said they were willing to use a transit pass if available.

The ministry said it is considering expanding the services to bus routes next year and adopting it in Jeju, the country’s southernmost resort island.

By Shin Hyon-hee (