300 Thursday: Using the Subway

Today’s 300 Thursday’s topic is the Korean Subway. To keep with word limits, it will be in two parts. First: using the subway.

Having been raised in mostly smaller cities, I never rode on a subway until I moved to Korea the first time 5 years ago. I have to admit, it’s really intimidating! But Korean’s are some of the nicest people I have met – and that’s saying a lot since I’m Canadian! They will help a confused girl find her way even if they don’t speak English.

It is a pretty crazy layout – but thankfully, everything is colour coded. Each line in the province is a different colour, and each one has its own specific name. Here, check out this picture, provided via google.

Now the first thing you have to do is get a T-money card. This card not only acts as your subway card, but also city buses, cross-city buses (like greyhounds), and taxis. So basically once you get it, you can ride on any form of public transportation and you will be fine. They are super easy to reload, and all the kiosks have English programed in. My friend even has an app on her phone, so she doesn’t have to deal with a card. It just gets added onto her monthly cell phone bill. You can get one trip cards, if you’re on vacation here. At the end, you give the card back to the machine and get 500 won back (about 50 cents).

All the stops are announced in Korea, English and sometimes Chinese, and the signs are in Korean and English. There are colour coded stripes on the walls and floors to get you to your transfer point. Some of the stations are little shopping centres too. It’s amazing!

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