Night owls to see better bus links

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Night owls to see better bus links

Nine late-night-only city bus lines will start operating in Seoul on Sept. 12.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said at a press briefing yesterday that the new routes will be operated between midnight and 5 a.m. for the convenience of night owls.

The buses, which the city government calls “Owl Buses,” are N26 between Gangseo and Jungnang; N37 between Eunpyeong and Songpa; N13 between Sanggye-dong and Songpa Garage; N16 between Dobongsan Garage and Onsu-dong; N61 between Yangcheon Garage and Nowon Station; N62 between Yangcheon Garage and Myeonmok-dong; N10 between Ui-dong and Seoul Station; N30 between Gangdong Garage and Seoul Station; and N40 between Bangbae-dong and Seoul Station. The fare on the new lines has been set at 1,850 won ($1.68) with a fare card.

The city government has been testing the N26 and N37 lines for the past three months to check the feasibility of the service.

“About 220,000 people used the two test lines during the last three months, which was more than we expected,” said Yoon Jun-byeong, director of the city government’s Urban Transportation Division, at the press briefing. “In a survey we conducted, about 88 percent of respondents said they wanted the city government to expand the late night lines.”

An average of about 2,100 passengers used the two lines daily.

Demonstrating the additional uses that modern technology can be put to, the city government laid out the lines in areas where there is a large number of people active at night. It analyzed 3 billion cell phone usage records in cooperation with KT, a leading mobile phone company. The areas that showed the most activity were Gangnam, Hongdae, Dongdaemun, Sillim and Jongno, all of which are included in the nine new lines.

Three lines - N10, N30 and N40 - pass through Seoul Station; five lines - N10, N13, N16, N26 and N30 - pass through Dongdaemun. Three lines - N10, N26 and N37 - go through Jongno and another three lines - N13, N37 and N61 - make stops in Gangnam.

The buses are equipped with governors that limit speed to 70 kilometers per hour (43.5 miles per hour). Drivers will be protected by a partition to protect them from drunken passengers. Yoon said the city will consider expanding the service if it works out well.

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