Seoul Metro reopens midnight train services – Korea’s COVID-19 controls quite cleared

Following the lifting of the epidemic prevention measures for COVID-19 in South Korea, Seoul Metro and the Korail Corporation are gradually resuming late-night operation on subway lines in the Seoul metropolitan area.

Midnight service resumes for the first time in two years on Seoul Subway Line 2 (Image by: Seoul City)
Midnight service resumes for the first time in two years on Seoul Subway Line 2 (Image by: Seoul City)

Life restrictions were completely lifted in April

Due to the “social distance measures” issued by the government due to the spread of the infection, the lives of citizens were restricted in South Korea by regulating in detail such as business hours of restaurants, holding events and gatherings. Diffusion trend of Omicron strains peaked in mid-March 2022 and began to decline, and the number of serious injuries, deaths, and bed occupancy rates have decreased compared to before, so the measures were completely lifted on April 18, 2022 (Mon) for the first time in 2 years and 1 month. The obligation to wear masks indoors will be maintained for the time being, but people are moving to the stage of recovering their daily lives while continuing basic infection prevention measures themself.

The last train time for subway lines in the Seoul metropolitan area was shortened to 24:00 due to epidemic prevention. After the measures were lifted, there were many opportunities to move in the spring, so the demand for transferring at midnight increased sharply. Following measures such as expanding midnight bus routes and the supply of late-night taxis, Seoul City is proceeding with procedures to resume midnight train service for the first time in two years (See the below chart about the midnight service resumption date for each line).

Seoul Metro & KORAIL resume midnight train services

Late-night trains resume on all lines by August

From May 30 (Mon), the extension has been carried out on the lines operated by a private companies such as Line 9 Subway, the Ui-Sinseol line, and the Shllim line that was newly opened on May 28 (Sat). Subsequently, from June 7 (Tue), the subway lines 2 and 5-8, which are operated by Seoul Metro and run in the high-demand city center, resumed midnight operation.

On the other hand, on the routes jointly operated by Seoul Metro and Korail, the resumption time was adjusted because it was necessary to consider the operation of other trains such as KTX. Discussions were concluded, then it was decided to start the extension on Line 1 Subway and 4 lines (Suin-Bundang, Gyeongui-Jungang, Gyeongchun and Seohae lines) operated independently by KORAIL from July 1 (Fri), on the remaining Lines 3 and 4 from August 1 (Mon).

On these lines, the service will be extended until 1:00 am on the basis of the terminal station on weekday schedules excluding weekends and holidays. According to the Seoul City, a total of 161 trains will be added at midnight to accommodate the transportation of up to 240,000 passengers, greatly eliminating the inconvenience of citizens’ movement.