The Seoul Subway

Now that's a real subway car

I counted around sixteen lines on the Seoul subway on the wedding trip. Several of them were brand new, which means Seoul continues to create new subway lines at a rate of one or two every two years or so. In one case, though, a new subway line has simply been substituted for an older commuter line. This is the line that ran to my in-laws’ place in the countryside; the emptiness of its cars (only temporary!) reminded me a of a similar line back in Japan. Basically, these are lines that feed people into the city, and the closer they get to the city, the fuller they become–it happens quite quickly. My Vancouver readers should notice the width of this car: it’s big enough for people to stick their feet out and still leave room for other riders to walk by. The Skytrain and the new Canada Millennium Line still feel like toys for me; the latter at least has cars the right width, but the chairs are far too close to the ground and they suffer from their arrangement, but worst of all, the Canada Line seems to have been built with no thought whatsoever for the future, for the trains and the stations that they travel between are only a couple of cars long. Translink would do well to go to Seoul to learn how to plan and do real public transit.

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