South Korea recently increased the cost of public transportation in two of its largest cities, Seoul and Busan. This cost increase will significantly affect your travel plans to South Korea, especially if you are traveling on a budget. Explore our comprehensive guide on the recent transportation cost hikes in Seoul and Busan, and adjust your budgeting plans accordingly.
The Recent Public Transportation Cost Increase in Seoul and Busan
The South Korean government has implemented a significant fare increase for public transportation in Busan and Seoul.
The Korea Times reported last week that the basic fares for public transportation in Seoul and Busan increased on Friday and Saturday, October 6 – 7, 2023. As the increasing cost will apply to the primary bus and subway fares in the two metropolitan cities, it will play a crucial factor if you’re planning to travel to South Korea and, most importantly, if you’re traveling on a budget.
A Travel Guide to the South Korea Public Transportation Cost in Seoul and Busan in 2023
Seoul Public Transportation Cost 2023
Last August, the South Korean government announced that the basic bus fares in Seoul had increased from 1,200 KRW to 1,500 KRW (1.12 USD).
Along with this increase, basic transportation cost for intercity buses will also increase to 3,000 KRW (2.23 USD). Meanwhile, the nighttime buses will now charge you 2,500 KRW (1.86 USD) from Seoul, according to Yonhap News.
|SEOUL Bus Fares 2023||KRW||USD|
Additionally, the basic public transportation cost for subways in Seoul, South Korea, increased by 150 KRW (0.11 USD) last week.
If you’re paying with a credit or transportation card during your travel to South Korea, the basic fares will now cost you 1,400 KRW (1.04 USD). On the other hand, if you pay with cash, the cost of Seoul subways will now charge you 1,500 KRW (1.12 USD).
Meanwhile, the South Korean government has also increased public transportation cost for children and teenagers for the first time since 2007. Children must now pay 500 KRW (0.37 USD), while teenagers will now pay 800 KRW (0.6 USD) for basic subway fares in Seoul.
Fortunately, the available discount policies will remain the same. You will still be able to enjoy a rate reduction before 6:30 AM. In addition, there will still be additional integrated transfer discounts, which only charge you the basic fares + an additional 100 KRW (0.074 USD) per 5 kilometers if your traveling distance exceeds 10 kilometers.
|SEOUL Subway Fares 2023||KRW||USD|
|Credit / Transportation Cards||1,400||1.04|
|> 10 kilometers travels||Basic fares + 100 KRW (0.074 USD) per 5 kilometers|
Busan Public Transportation Cost 2023
At the same time, South Korea also increased public transportation cost in Busan Metropolitan City.
According to the city’s local government, the regular bus fares in Busan have increased to 1,550 KRW (1.15 USD). Meanwhile, the rate for express city buses is now at 2,050 KRW (1.52 USD).
|BUSAN Bus Fares 2023||KRW||USD|
Additionally, the Busan government raised the Subway fares in Busan starting from October 2023.
If you’re paying using credit/transportation cards, the subway fares in Busan will charge you 1,450 KRW (1.08 USD) if for up to 10 kilometers of travel. However, if your travel exceeds 10 kilometers, then the Busan subway fares will now charge you 1,650 KRW (1.23 USD).
It’s also essential to note that you must pay an additional 100 KRW (0.074 USD) if you use cash payments.
The good news is Busan Metropolitan City will not increase the fares for teenagers and children. Children under 12 will still be able to ride on the Busan subways for free when using transportation cards, while basic fares for teenagers remain at 1,050 KRW (0.78 USD) for up to 10 kilometers of travel and 1,200 (0.89 USD) for more than 10 kilometers of travel.
|BUSAN Subway Fares 2023||KRW||USD|
|Transportation Cards (ADULTS)||1,450 (< 10 kilometers) |
1,650 (> 10 kilometers)
|Transportation Cards (TEENS)||1,050 (< 10 kilometers) |
1,200 (> 10 kilometers)
|Transportation Cards (CHILDREN under 12)||FREE|
|Cash Payments||Basic Fares + 100 KRW (0.074 USD)|
|Cash Payments for Children||700 (< 10 kilometers) |
800 (> 10 kilometers)
Previously, the government of South Korea planned to increase the public transportation cost by 300 KRW (0.22 USD). However, they decided to reduce the rise by half due to South Korea’s cost of living pressures.
Additional Increase in 2024
Finally, the Seoul and Busan governments plan to implement another 150 KRW (0.11 USD) increase in public transportation cost.
Seoul Metropolitan City will reportedly apply the increase in the second half of next year. As for Busan, they will start charging the citizens with the same amount starting from May 3, 2024.
Therefore, please make sure to adjust your budget accordingly if you are planning to travel to Seoul and Busan, South Korea, next year.
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