Public Transportation Tips in Korea
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You can use multiple apps to get information about transportation here in Seoul, but there is one essential item you need to get around South Korea with ease!
In South Korea, travelers can get a Single Journey Ticket at subway stations but bear in mind that this only applies to subways. So, how about traveling by bus? You would need a rechargeable card called the Tmoney card, which provides total coverage for all transportation modes here in South Korea! These cards can be used for not only all buses, subways, and taxis but also payment at affiliated stores.
*We recommend you get a Tmoney card as it is a magic wand that will make your travel super convenient!*
So, where CAN YOU get this magic item?
You can easily get a basic Tmoney card that costs KRW 2,500 at any convenience store (CU, GS25, Ministop, and 7-Eleven). There are also various kinds of T-money cards with cute designs of Kakao Friends, BT21, and many more! However, these special T-money cards cost more.
How DO YOU reload it?
Worry not if you have used up the money in your Tmoney card. There are several ways to reload it.
Find a ticket vending machine located inside every subway and train station.
- Select your preferred language (Korean, English, Japanese, or Chinese).
- Click the third button with the Tmoney logo on the rightmost side, and touch the “Reloading the transit car” button.
- Place your card on the loading pad, and select the amount of money you wish to load.
- Insert coins or cash, and wait briefly while your Tmoney card finishes recharging.
- Confirm your Tmoney card’s balance.
Next, you can also visit newsstands near bus stops displaying the Tmoney sign. They are usually found next to subway station exits and entrances. However, we don’t suggest this method as you may have some difficulties communicating with newsstand workers. ☹
As you can buy a Tmoney card at convenience stores, you can also recharge them there! Head over to any nearby convenience store, and ask for “Tmoney reload.” The staff will then do the necessary steps. This is undoubtedly the easiest way to recharge your card! However, you can only reload using cash.
Tip: Some student IDs offer the Tmoney card service but may not be recharged at convenience stores. As such, find the closest subway station to reload your card.
If you do not need the Tmoney card anymore but still have some card balance, get a refund. You can get a refund at all retail locations, but the card price and KRW 500 service fee are nonrefundable. In addition, refund processing of more than KRW 50,000 can be complicated, so it is best to reload your Tmoney card in smaller amounts below such.
How to use it?
It’s simple! A card sensor is installed for all transportation modes, and you can locate them easily. Remember to tap your card when boarding and getting off buses or entering and exiting subway stations.
You can also use it for paying when riding taxis. A card sensor is installed at the center, and you can pay by tapping your Tmoney card on it upon arriving at your destination.
There exists a system called transfer discounts. However, it is only available four times a day within a transfer time limit of 30 min (up to 1 hr, from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. the next day). It is wonderful but not extensive.
For example, transfer discounts don’t apply if you transfer to buses with the same numbers or reenter the same subway station after exiting, even if you transfer within 30 min. It also does not apply after riding a bus and transferring using a taxi.
There are a total of 10 subway lines in Seoul, South Korea!
Searching for information on these stations and how to reach them can be tricky and challenging. However, Kakao Metro is an easy-to-use, foreigner-friendly app that will help you navigate Seoul’s subway lines. It is free for download and available in both Korean and English.
It shows you not only the quickest routes but also how long the journey will take. On top of that, it has all information you need, from which station to board and transfer to which station to get off! Kakao Metro also tells you the different lines you can take along with the trains’ arrival time and even which train rail number is the fastest access point for transfers and those closest to particular exits.
Google has everything. Google Maps is undoubtedly one of the best map applications worldwide that supports every language globally with precise information for traveling. By typing the address you want to go to, it will show all the information and transport modes available!
You can even choose your departure time, transportation mode, and route.
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