A finger points at a map of Seoul metropolitan subway. (Yonhap)
Late-night subway services on additional subway lines were resumed Tuesday amid robust demand for transportation services at night, following the lifting of most social distancing rules.
According to Seoul Metro, the operator of the Seoul subway system, the operation hours of Line No. 2, and Line Nos. 5 to 8 are extended by one hour to 1 a.m. on weekdays.
The subway operator said that late-night services on all subway lines in Seoul will fully return to the pre-pandemic level by early August.
Line No. 1 is currently scheduled to resume its late-hour services on July 1, while other commuter rail lines in the capital area, including the Gyeongui Line, the Suin-Bundang Line and the Gyeongchun Line, are also to extend their operation hours from the same day.
Operation hours on Line Nos. 3 and 4, however, will be extended starting on Aug. 1.
Seoul Metro explained that rescheduling of jointly operated subway lines have been pushed back due to discussions with Korail, regarding operations of the subway lines.
On weekends and holidays, subway services will continue to run until midnight.
If operation hours of Line Nos. 3 and 4 are rescheduled by early August, Seoul’s subway operations will fully return to its pre-pandemic level for the first time in two years. In April 2020, Seoul suspended late-hour services of subways due to the pandemic and social distancing measures.
Discussion on rescheduling operating hours of subway lines came earlier in April amid a public outcry over the difficulty of grabbing taxis at night, particularly after the government lifted most social distancing measures.
On the backdrop of increased transportation services at night, the Seoul city government decided to extend operation hours of public transportation services, while securing additional taxis available at night.
On May 30, Seoul first resumed late-night services on subway Line No. 9, the Ui-Sinseol Line and the Sillim Line.
Extension of operating hours on other subway lines has been slightly pushed back due to negotiations with unionized workers.
Meanwhile, the Seoul city government’s efforts to secure additional late-night taxis has come to a standstill as the local taxi industry is demanding increases to the base cab rate.
By Shim Woo-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org