Public Transportation Card in Seoul 101

The metro system in Korea, especially that of Seoul, is famous for its well-structured and efficient routes. And don’t be surprised! There are 22 lines in total, just for Seoul Metropolitan area. (It might not make any sense because Seoul Metropolitan subway lines cover not only the Seoul area, but also greater area up to Chuncheon, Gangwondo).  

seoul metro
A Subway Web?, “From Seoul Sublet”

The first thing that you might have to do is to download the smartphone applications for subway navigation. The famous applications are Kakao subway, 지하철 종결자, and 지하철 노선도. Those applications let you know the exact time when your subway will be arriving to you and when you will be arriving at your destined station. This is actually a real help 🙂

Once you are done setting up your trip route, the next step is to buy a subway ticket or a transportation card. A one-time trip card can be used for only one-way trip, whereas a transportation card can be used for many times. Remember that those cards are applicable not only subway, but also bus and even some local stores.

  1. Single journey ticket – There are ticket vending machines in most subway stations. Those machines are usually located near the turnstile gates in the station. And, please don’t get scared of it! Those machines support English, Chinese, and Japanese language services. Anyway, standing in front of the machine, please tap “choose destination” and then it will guide to the section asking how many people will be accompanying with you. Please choose the number of people, and then you will get selected numbers of single journey tickets. Once you get the single journey ticket, simply tag them on the top side of the sensor of the turnstile gate. If you enter the entrance, please don’t throw this card out. You will need when you pass through the gates of the arrival station. Once you arrive at your destination, look for deposit refund machine and insert your single journey ticket into the device. After giving back your single journey ticket to the refund machine, you will get your deposit back from single journey ticket. 
    seoul single journey
    From Wiki
  2. Transportation card – If you periodically take a subway for like work or school, you better get this transportation card. There are two types of it.
    1. prepaid card – you charge it and use up for the amount you charged. 
      Various Kinds of Prepaid Cards, “From Travel Blog”
    2. postpaid card – Most debit and credit cards in Korea are integrated with transportation card function. So if you issue any debit and credit card, please check if they have this transportation card function or not. The amount you used for a month will be directly billed to your credit card statement.


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