The Korea Herald

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Seoul subway fare to rise 12% beginning Saturday

By Son Ji-hyoung

Published : Oct. 3, 2023 - 12:34

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Passengers walk along an underground platform of City Hall Subway Station in central Seoul in September. (Yonhap) Passengers walk along an underground platform of City Hall Subway Station in central Seoul in September. (Yonhap)

The basic subway fare in the Seoul metropolitan area is poised to rise 12 percent to 1,400 won ($1.03) from the current 1,250 won, according to the capital city's municipal government on Tuesday.

Seoul's public transit authorities define the basic subway fare as the charge to adult holders of a transportation card traveling up to 10 kilometers on a single ride. An additional 100 won is charged for each additional 5 kilometers of travel on the transit system, which allows for travel of up to 200 kilometers.

Those who do not use a transportation card and purchase a single-ride ticket are charged 1,500 won for travel of up to 10 kilometers.

For transportation card holders, however, the basic fare for a short subway ride will be 1,500 won if their travel involves both a city bus and a subway ride. Bus and subway fares are not separately charged for eligible transportation card holders if they transfer within 30 minutes during the daytime.

The hike -- the first in eight years since June 2015 -- will affect those using the subway system in Greater Seoul, including the surrounding Gyeonggi Province and Incheon.

Separately, a 11.1 percent hike for children riders will also be implemented for the first time in 16 years. The basic fare for those aged between 13 and 18 will rise from 720 won to 800 won, and those aged between 6 and 12 will be charged 500 won, up from the current 450 won.

Those aged 5 or younger or 65 or older may travel through the subway system free of charge after the fare hike plan.

The hike plan is in line with Seoul's implementation of a bus fare hike in August. Plans to increase fares for both the subway and city buses gained approval from the municipal government in July.

The hike comes amid mounting financial pressure on public transit authorities. Seoul's subway system suffered annual losses of 920 billion won on average from 2018 to 2022, while losses of the Seoul bus system averaged 540 billion won during the same period, according to data from the municipal government.