Seoul to launch river bus service along Han River in October

Boats will run in the Han River like buses starting in October on a seven-stop route between the northwestern district of Magok and the southeastern district of Jamsil, the Seoul city government said Thursday. The Hangang River Bus service will reduce the travel time between Jamsil and the financial district of Yeouido to 30 minutes in the morning and evening rush hours as there will be no traffic congestion in the waterway, officials said. Service hours will be from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays on the route that has seven stops: Magok, Mangwon, Yeouido, Jamwon, Oksu, Ddukseom and Jamsil, officials said. The boat will run every 15 minutes during the morning rush hour between 6:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. and the evening rush hour between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on weekdays, and it will run every 30 minutes during non-rush hours and on weekends and holidays, officials said. A total of eight eco-friendly hybrid passenger vessels will be used in the river bus service, with each boat capable of carrying up to 199 passengers at a time while traveling at an average speed of 17 knots, officials said. The fare is 3,000 won (US$ 2.25) per ride, and passengers can get access to unlimited rides using the Climate Card, an all-inclusive monthly transit pass offering unlimited access to subways and buses across the capital area, which debuted last month. The state-run Seoul Housing and Communities Corp. (SH) will be in charge of administration and accounting of the water bus, and Eland Cruise will be in charge of operating the vessels. The city government said it is in discussion with the Korea Coast Guard to adopt the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS), which locates and communicates with the vessel and provides port management information. It plans to expand the water bus service next year. Yearly passengers are expected to increase from 800,000 people next year to 2.5 million in 2030, city officials said. "If the river bus is introduced, citizens will be able to exp erience fresh and comfortable trips to and from work," Mayor Oh Se-hoon said. "We will use the river bus as a tourist attraction to open up the era of 30 million tourists and strengthen the city's competitiveness." Source: Yonhap News Agency