The Korea Herald


Monthly Seoul transit pass to launch in 2024

65,000 won pass to cover Seoul's subway, bus, bicycle-sharing services

By Lee Jung-joo

Published : Sept. 11, 2023 - 17:24

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Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon talks about the Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon talks about the "Climate Card" during a press briefing at Seoul City Hall on Monday. (Newsis)

An all-inclusive, rechargeable monthly transit pass will be introduced in Seoul from January 2024 at a price of 65,000 won ($49), said Seoul Metropolitan Government on Monday. Transit pass holders will have unlimited access to Seoul’s subway and bus lines, as well as bicycle-sharing services.

Called “Climate Card,” the city government designed the pass to help alleviate increasing living and transit costs, and encourage public transportation usage to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Card will launch as a pilot project from January to May 2024 and will become officially available in the second half of the same year.

The card can be used on all subway lines in Seoul, which includes Line 1 to Line 9 and the Gyeongui-Jungang, Bundang, Gyeongchun, Ui-Sinseol and Sillim lines. The transit pass will not cover the Shinbundang Line due to higher fare costs.

The transit card can also be used in public buses exclusively within Seoul, or when traveling from Seoul to other metropolitan areas. Pass holders cannot use the card for journeys from other metropolitan areas in Gyeonggi Province and Incheon to Seoul.

The transit pass is also valid for the city’s bicycle-sharing service Ddareungi, and pass holders will likely be able to use it on the “Hangang River Bus” service, which is planned to commence in September 2024, officials said.

The physical card will have to be purchased for an extra 3,000 won. It will also be available digitally on a mobile app for Android phone users. For iOS users, the pass is expected to be available in the second half of 2024.

Turnstile gates located inside Seoul Station (123rf) Turnstile gates located inside Seoul Station (123rf)

The Seoul Metropolitan Government predicts that the new transit pass plan could help relieve people’s financial burden amid growing energy prices and public transportation fares. Starting in October, the basic fare for Seoul’s subway service is scheduled to go up for the first time in eight years, by 150 won. Currently, the basic fare stands at 1,250 won.

If those who drove switched to public transportation for their daily commutes and weekend getaways, the city government estimated the pass could help save costs of up to 340,000 won per person per year.

It could also help reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 32,000 metric tons each year. According to Seoul Metropolitan Government officials, 17 percent, or 7.6 million tons, of the city’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation.

“The current response to dealing with climate change in the transportation sector is limited to introducing eco-friendly buses and electric vehicle taxis and making more public bicycles available,” said Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon. “We will continuously develop our Climate Card project to operate it smoothly and develop transportation policies which will be beneficial to Seoul's citizens.”

While the monthly transit pass has been announced to cover only Seoul, the city government said discussions to expand the transit pass use to within Gyeonggi Province and Incheon are underway. Following the city government's announcement, Gyeonggi Provincial Office criticized the city government, saying that no discussions were made prior to the capital's announcement. The provincial government urged for a public council to be formed involving the three municipal governments regarding the new transportation plan through a press release on Monday.