The Seoul Metropolitan Subway is a metropolitan railway system consisting of 22 rapid transit, light metro, commuter rail and people mover lines located in northwest South Korea. The system serves most of the Seoul Metropolitan Area including the Incheon metropolis and satellite cities in Gyeonggi province. Some regional lines in the network stretch out beyond the Seoul Metropolitan Area to rural areas in northern Chungnam province and western Gangwon province, that lie over 100 km away from the capital. The network consists of numbered lines 1 through 9, which serve Seoul City proper and its surroundings and other specifically named regional railways that serve the greater metropolitan region and beyond. Most of the system is operated by three companies – Seoul Metro, Korail (Korea National Railroad) and Metro 9. However, there are several other lines that stretch out to regional provinces. Its first metro line, Line 1, started construction in 1971 and opened in 1974, with through-operation to Korail suburban railways. Today, the network is one of the largest and most efficient urban railway systems in the world, with of track on lines 1–9 alone; wireless and internet service on all trains; and platform screen doors at almost all stations.


The first line of the Seoul Subway network started construction in 1971. The first section of subway was built using the cheaper cut and cover construction method. Despite initial plans to rely heavily on Japanese technology, construction of the line was primarily a domestic effort with domestic technology. Line 1 opened in 1974 with through services joining surrounding Korail suburban railway lines similar to the Tokyo subway. Today, many of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway's lines are operated by Korail, South Korea's national passenger and freight railway operator. This is similar to Europe and Japan, where the national railroad often operates local mainline urban railways, such as the S-Bahns in Germany, operated by subsidiaries of Deutsche Bahn, or JR East in Japan, which operates many other urban rail systems in Japanese cities. It has been described as the world's longest multi-operator metro system by route length. The system was rated as one of the world's best subway systems by CNN, and Jalopnik It is notable for its cleanliness and ease of use along with advanced technology such as 4G LTE, WiFi, DMB, and WiBro accessible in all stations and trains. Nearly all stations have platform screen doors installed; only Gaewha and some minor Korail-operated stations remain with open platforms. By 2017, Korail will completely install screen doors in every station and platform. The world's first virtual mart for smartphone users opened at Seolleung station in 2011. All directional signs in the system are written in Korean, English and Hanja. In trains there are in addition many LCD screens giving service announcements, upcoming stop names, YTN news, stock prices and animated shorts. There are also prerecorded voice announcements that give the upcoming station, any possible line transfer, and the exiting side in Korean, followed by English. At major stations, this is followed by Japanese, then Mandarin Chinese, as well. Seoul Subway uses full-color LCD screens at all stations to display real-time subway arrival times, which are also available on apps for smartphones. Most trains have digital TV screens, and all of them have air conditioning and climate controlled seats installed that are automatically heated in the winter. In 2014, it became the world's first metro operator to use transparent displays for ads when it installed 48 transparent displays on major stations of Line 2 in Gangnam District. All lines use the T-money smart payment system using RFID and NFC technology for automatic payment by T-money smart cards, smartphones, or credit cards and one can transfer to any of the other line within the system for free.With the exception of AREX on Yeongjong Island (extra charge applied depending on distance) and Shinbundang Line (extra flat charge of 700KRW). EverLine and U Line will allow free transfers from 2014. Trains on numbered lines generally run on the right-hand track, while trains on the named lines (e.g. Shinbundang Line, Bundang Line, and AREX) run on the left-hand track. The exceptions are the trains on Line 1, as well as those on Line 4 south of Namtaeryeong station. These lines run on the left-hand track because these rail lines are operated by Korail, South Korea's national railway operator.


Line 1, from Seongbuk station to Incheon station and Suwon station, opened on 15 August 1974. On 9 December 1978, the Yongsan-Cheongnyangni line (now part of the Jungang Line) was added to Line 1. Line 2 opened on 10 October 1980. In 1985, the fare system changed from charging by distance to zone and the Edmondson railway ticket changed to a magnetic paper ticket. Line 4 opened on 20 April 1985, and Line 3 on 12 July. On 1 April 1994, the Indeogwon-Namtaeryeong extension of Line 4 opened. The Bundang Line, from Suseo station to Ori station, opened on 1 September. On 15 November 1995, Line 5 opened. The Jichuk-Daehwa extension of Line 3 opened on 30 January 1996. On 20 March, the Kkachisan-Sindorim extension of Line 2 opened. Line 7 opened on 11 October, and Line 8 on 23 November. On 6 October 1999, Incheon Subway Line 1 opened. Seoul Subway Line 6 opened on 7 August 2000. In 2004 the fare system reverted to charging by distance, and free bus transfers were introduced. The Byeongjeom-Cheonan extension of Line 1 opened on 20 January 2005. On 16 December, the Jungang Line from Yongsan station to Deokso station opened. The Uijeongbu-Soyosan extension of Line 1 opened and shuttle service from Yongsan station to Gwangmyeong station began (with the route now shortened from Yeongdeungpo to Gwangmyeong) on 15 December 2006. On 23 March 2007, AREX opened. The Deokso-Paldang extension of the Jungang Line opened on 27 December. On 15 December 2008, the Cheonan-Sinchang extension of Line 1 opened. The magnetic paper ticket changed to an RFID-based card on 1 May 2009. On 1 July the Gyeongui Line from Seoul station to Munsan station opened, and on 24 July Line 9 from Gaehwa station to Sinnonhyeon station opened. The Byeongjeom-Seodongtan extension of Line 1 opened on 26 February 2010, and the Gyeongchun Line opened on 21 December. On 28 October 2011, the Shinbundang Line from Gangnam station to Jeongja station opened. The Suin Line, from Oido Station to Songdo Station, opened on 30 June 2012. The U Line opened on 1 July, the Onsu-Bupyeong-gu Office extension of Line 7 on 27 October and the Gongdeok-Gajwa extension of the Gyeongui Line on 15 December. On 26 April 2013 EverLine opened, and the Gyeongui·Jungang Line opened on 27 December 2014. The Sinnonhyeon-Sports Complex extension of Line 9 opened on 28 March 2015. On 30 January 2016 the Jeongja-Gwanggyo extension of the Shinbundang Line opened, followed by the Songdo-Incheon extension of the Suin Line on 27 February. Incheon Subway Line 2 opened on 30 July, and the Gyeonggang Line on 24 September. The Gyeongui-Jungang Line is extended one station east to Jipyeong station on 21 January 2017, with 4 round trips to Jipyeong station. On 16 June 2018 the Seohae Line opened. Magongnaru station on Line 9 became an interchange station with AREX on 29 September 2018. Bundang line is extended northeastward to Cheongnyangni station, allowing for connections to the Gyeongchun Line and regional rail services on 31 December 2018. On 28 September 2019, the Gimpo Goldline opened as the newest line in the Seoul Metropolitan Subway system

Lines and branches

The system is organized such that numbered lines, with some exceptions, are considered as urban rapid transit lines located within the Seoul National Capital Area (SNCA), whereas wide-area commuter lines operated by Korail provide a metro-like commuter rail service that usually extends far beyond the boundaries of the SNCA, rather similar to the RER in Paris. The AREX is an airport rail link that links Incheon International Airport and Gimpo Airport to central Seoul, and offers both express service directly to Incheon International Airport and all-stop commuter service for people living along the vicinity of the line. While operating hours may vary depending on the line in question, the Seoul Metropolitan Subway generally operates from 5.30 a.m. until 1 a.m. on weekdays, and from 5.30 a.m. until midnight on weekends.

Rolling stock

Fares and ticketing

The Seoul Metropolitan Subway system operates on a unified transportation fare system, meaning that subways and buses in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi-do are treated as one system when it comes to fares. For example, a subway rider can transfer to any other line for free (with the exception of Shinbundang Line, EverLine and U Line, which add flat extra charges, amounting to 900, 200 and 300 won respectively). One can also transfer to any city buses for free, regardless of whether it is from Seoul, Incheon or Gyeonggi-do. In the case of Shinbundang Line, if one crosses Jeongja Station, 300 won is charged on top of the 900 won extra charge, although a cashback is offered to frequent riders between Pangyo Station and Dongcheon/Suji-gu Office Station. Fare payments in Seoul are mainly handled by T-money and Cash Bee, which can also be used on buses, convenience stores and many other popular retail places. Riders must touch in a phone, card or other metro card and enabled device at the entry gates. Popular methods of payments are using NFC-enabled Android smartphones (topped up or billed to the owner's credit/debit card via the T-money app) or credit or check (debit) cards with built-in RFID technology issued by the bank or card company. The current single-use ticket is a credit card-sized plastic card with RFID technology, which can be obtained from automated machines in every subway station. A 500 won deposit fee is included in the price, and is refunded when the ticket is returned at any station. Multiple use cards are sold in convenience stores and the functionality is included in many credit/debit cards. Fares (except for single-use tickets) are currently 1,250 won for a trip up to 10 km, with 100 won added for each subsequent 5 km. Once 50 km has been passed, 100 won will be added every 8 km. Single-use ticket users must pay RFID deposit 500 won plus 100 won surcharge to fare. Half-priced children's tickets are available. The city government also uses Seoul Citypass as a transportation card. Senior citizens and disabled people qualify for free transit and can get a free ticket or enter and exit using side gates rather than turnstiles. International travelers can also use a Metropolitan Pass (MPASS) which provides up to 20 trips per day during the prepaid duration of 1 day to 7 days. Depending on where you purchase the card, the service is limited to the Seoul metropolitan area or Jeju Island and does not work in taxis or certain convenience stores.

Current construction

Opening 2021

*Line 7 will be extended west from Bupyeong-gu Office station to Seongnam station on 22 May 2021, offering a transfer to Incheon Subway Line 2. The extension was slated to be opened in June 2020 but the opening was repeatedly delayed. *Tangjeong station, between Asan station and Baebang station on Seoul Subway Line 1, will open as an in-fill station in August 2021 once redevelopment of the area surrounding it is completed. *The Gyeongui–Jungang Line will be extended north again by September 2021 from Imjingang Station to Dorasan Station. Uncheon station, a previously closed station that lies on the line, will be opened a few months later in December 2021. *Line 4 will be extended northeast from Danggogae station to Jinjeop station in December 2021. *Hagik station, between Songdo station and Inha University station on the Suin–Bundang Line, will open as an in-fill station once redevelopment of the area surrounding it is completed. This area will feature cultural, commercial, and medical facilities along with new residential areas.

Opening 2022

*The Shinbundang Line will be extended north from Gangnam station to Sinsa station on 29 January 2022. ** Further extensions involving the line crossing the Han River are in planning stages. *The Sillim Line, a light metro line in southwestern Seoul, is scheduled to open in June 2022. The 11-station underground LRT line will provide transfers to Lines 1, 2, 7, and 9 before terminating in the south at Seoul National University. *Line 1 will be extended north from Soyosan station to Yeoncheon station in December 2022, after the existing line is upgraded and double-tracked.

Opening 2023+

*The Seohae Line will be extended north in the earlier half of 2023 from Sosa station to Daegok station, with transfers to Line 3 and the Gyeongui-Jungang Line at Daegok. There will also be transfers to Line 5, 9, AREX, and the Gimpo Goldline at Gimpo International Airport station, as well as Line 4 at Bucheon Stadium station. Service will run up to Ilsan station. *Line 8 will be extended north from Amsa station to Byeollae station on the Gyeongchun Line in September 2023, with a transfer to the Gyeongui-Jungang Line at Guri station. *The Sinansan Line will open in 2024. The line will start at Yeouido station and split into two branches: one to Hanyang University ERICA Campus station, and one to Songsan station on the Seohae Line. The second branch will partly share tracks with the Seohae Line and the Gyeonggang Line. *The Dongbuk Line, a light metro line in northeastern Seoul, is scheduled to open in early 2025 with 14 stations between Wangsimni Station and Eunhaeng Sageori station.


* The Wirye–Sinsa Line, a light metro line in southeastern Seoul, will open between Sinsa station and Wirye with 11 stations planned. * The Wirye Line, another light metro line in southeastern Seoul, will open between Macheon station on Line 5 and splitting into two branches: one at Bokjeong station on Line 8 and Bundang line, and one at Unam station, a station planned on Line 8, with 12 stations planned. *Line 7 may be extended 3 stations northwards to Okjeong station in Yangju, with a transfer with Tapseok station on the U Line by 2024. It is also scheduled to extend from Seongnam Station to Cheongna International City Station in 2027, with a transfer with AREX.

Under planning

Seoul City

The Seoul Metropolitan government published a ten-year plan for expansion of the subway with the following projects under consideration. *Gangbukhoengdan line a new line running in an arc north of Seoul between Cheongnyangni Station and Mok-dong station with 19 stations planned. The line will provide transfers to Lines 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, AREX, Gyeongui–Jungang, Gyeongchun, Bundang and Ui line. *Ui LRT will open a branch line from Solbat Park station to Banghak station on Line 1, the extension will open with 3 stations. *Myeonmok Line is a light metro in the northeastern area of Seoul running between Cheongnyangni Station and Sinnae Station with 12 stations and connections to the Gyeongchun Line and Line 6. *Nangok Line is a branch of the light metro Sillim Line in the southwestern area of Seoul running between Nangok-dong and Boramae Park with 5 stations planned. *Mok-dong Line is a light metro in southwestern Seoul running between Sinwol-dong and Dangsan station on line 2, with 12 stations planned. *Seobu Line in Western Seoul will open between Saejeol station on line 6 and Seoul National University station on line 2 with 16 stations planned. *Line 9 will open a new phase 4 expansion from Gangil to Gangil 1-dong. *Line 4 will start running express services between Danggogae Station and Namtaeryeong station. *Line 5 will start running shuttle services connecting Gubeundari Station on the mainline and Dunchon-dong Station on the Macheon Branch. *The Sillim Line will be connected to Seobu Line with a track between Seoul National University station (Line 2) and Seoul National University Station (Sillim Line).

Incheon City

The Incheon Metropolitan government is working on the Second Incheon Metro Network Construction Plan that inherits the Incheon Metro Network Construction Plan published in 2016. It includes the construction of five new tram lines. The draft is expected to be released in October 2020. *Incheon Subway line 3 is planned to be a semi-circular subway line of Incheon. It will intersect at Korail line 1 at Dowon station and Dongmak station at Incheon Subway line 1.

Network map

See also

* Seoul Light Rapid Transit * Incheon Subway * Pyongyang Metro * Seoul Metropolitan Subway stations * Transport in South Korea * List of Korea-related topics * List of metro systems * List of tram and light rail transit systems * Incheon Airport Maglev



External links

* Official websites by company *
Seoul Metro
Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation
(Archeived) *
Shinbundang Line
Cyber Station - Map, station and route finder
* Seoul city government *
The Seoul Underground Subway: Official Seoul Tourism
English-language WMV video
describing Seoul Subway history, current construction and future projects {{Rapid transit in Asia Category:Railway companies established in 1974 Category:Underground rapid transit in South Korea