Friday, February 17, 2012

Seoul Metro

As one of the largest and busiest metro systems in the world, I was bracing myself for Hong Kong MRT style crowds or something along the lines of the throngs in the Tokyo Subway when I got to the Seoul metro.  Oddly, the crowds never materialized and there were never too many people.

Stations were all equipped with safety doors which I've seen so far only at some stations in the Taipei Metro and the Hong Kong MRT.

Snack vending machines are pretty ubiquitous in case you go hungry while waiting for a train.

The subway cars looked almost exactly like the ones in Korean dramas with clear signage so you know exactly when to get off. They also offer comfortably wide walkways and plenty of handgrips. In fact, it was rather amusing one day when I was riding the metro here and a middle-aged gentleman walked in with a large cart full of various shoes. He stopped in the middle of the car and started giving his sales pitch for his shoes and surprisingly, he got at least 5 or 6 takers. Not exactly something you see everyday in other metros!

Larger maps of the entire subway system are found every so often at every station.

This was the most surprising difference with most other metros around the world.  An emergency gas mask supplies are located at metro stations which I presume is in case of any gas attack from North Korea.  Rather interesting...

I know that a lot of countries tend to give their metro stations some character, with some notable examples in cities like Vienna and Budapest.  This was no different in Seoul at Gyeongbokgung station, next to the Palace and Gwanghwamun, where the stairways, walls and interiors are elaborately decorated with carvings and statues.

The station is also the site of a temporary art exhibit with a variety of traditional and modern pieces on display.

The corridor to one of the subway exits contains some modernized takes on some historic/cultural artifacts as well.

1 comment:

  1. The subway can actually be pretty crowded, during the weekend, especially. But it really depends on what station you're going to.