Next stop: your favorite neighborhood company

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Next stop: your favorite neighborhood company

Subway stations in Seoul with added names of companies. [SEOUL METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT]

Subway stations in Seoul with added names of companies. [SEOUL METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT]

More companies can pay Seoul Metro to have their names added to the names of subway stops, the Seoul city government said Thursday.
 
“From July, we will take submissions from companies who’d like to add their names to the subway station closest to them, for a fee,” the Seoul Metropolitan Government said in a statement Thursday.  
 
The subway stations already open for applications are Yeoksam Station on Line No. 2 and Euljiro 4 (sa)-ga Station on Lines No. 2 and 5.  
 
“At least three more stations will be added to the list,” the city government said, adding that companies can apply for subway stations within 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) of their headquarters.
 
The companies will get their names added to subway station signs within the station and on exit signs for the next three years.  
 
An exit sign of Guro Digital Complex Station on Line No. 2 shows the added name of Wonkwang Digital University in parentheses. [SEOUL METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT]

An exit sign of Guro Digital Complex Station on Line No. 2 shows the added name of Wonkwang Digital University in parentheses. [SEOUL METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT]

The program was launched in 2016 and since 2017, Jonggak Station has had the additional name Standard Chartered Bank Korea added in parentheses and in a smaller font on its station signs. The initial advertisement was for three years and the bank extended it for another three years in 2020.  
 
Extensions are allowed only once, the city government said.  
 
The expansion of the campaign is expected to bring a badly needed new source of revenue.
 
“We hope that the campaign will help create additional revenue for the company, which is struggling financially,” said Kim Sang-bum, CEO of Seoul Metro, in a statement on Thursday.  
 
Seoul Metro, which operates subway Line Nos. 1 to 8, has been running deficits for years. Its accumulated deficit grew from 116 billion won ($102.3 million) in 2018 to 987 billion won in 2020, according to Seoul Metro.  
 
A hike in ticket prices has been discussed, but a new mayor cut that possibility short in a recent announcement.
 
“I understand that there have been discussions on the matter,” Mayor Oh Se-hoon told the press on Monday. “But I think a hike in prices should be considered after all options on revamping management of the company to better balance [the expenses and revenues] have been considered. Not much progress has been made on that front since the company was relaunched [in May 2020] through a merger. The city is not going to consider raising prices, especially at a time when people are struggling with the pandemic, until they’ve come up with a better business plan.”
 
The last time that the subway ticket prices were raised was in 2015, when the basic fare for an adult, when paid with a card, was raised from 1,050 won to 1,250 won. 
 
BY ESTHER CHUNG   [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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