Suggestions for Feting Opening of New Subway LinesSeoul will soon see another subway line, line number 6, begin service this November, making commuting around the huge metropolis much more convenient. With this subway line, Seoul‘s subway system will be the third longest in the world, covering 278 km. Only New York’s and London‘s cover more distance. Its inauguration is expected to dramatically change commuting and traffic patterns across the city, raising questions of how prepared city authorities are for these impending changes.
But, before line number 6 opens, line number 7 is scheduled to go into full-scale operation next month, connecting both ends of Seoul with the majority of the track travelling south of the Han River. The line, whose northern portion has been in operation for some months, is expected to relieve Shindorim Station, Seoul＇s most crowded station.
People are, however, not completely happy with the new subway lines. With the subway lines criss-crossing the city, noise, dust and traffic snarls have been plaguing Seoul during the seven-year construction period. There also has been constant worry over propane gas lines being damaged, and perhaps exploding and collapsing roads. Also, because of blocked roads, some stores have been forced to close temporarily. Undoubtedly, the opening of these subway lines is good news. At the same time, many are concerned whether bus service to certain areas will cease or reckless development near subway stations will make nearby residential areas that much noisier.
However, in order to counter any negative feelings and to fete the subway openings, why don＇t Seoul Subway officials give those who have had to sufffer construction inconveniences free passes for a month? Not only would this be a good public relations move on their part, it would also get more people riding the subway instead of the bus routes they may have been using.
There should also be bicycle stands at subway entrances and attractive paving to draw more ridership in the neighboring areas along with changes to guide books, maps and traffic light systems prior to the full operation of the new subway lines.
by Um Sung-jik