Riding the Bus
Three types of buses cover routes connecting every corner of the city: the Ilban bus, Jwaseok bus and Maeul bus. Over 400 express and residential buses and 8,500 city buses serve Seoulites on a daily basis. Bus routes can be the hardest to master for newcomers. However, once you get the hang of using the bus, it may be easier for you to reach destinations not easily accessible by subway. Buses arrive at stops in five to fifteen minute intervals, though you may have to give them a bit of leeway in the busier parts of the city. Schedules vary depending on the bus route involved but most routes start at 4:30 a.m. with the last bus of the day making its round at 1 a.m.
One of the advantages of traveling on a bus is that you can actually enjoy the sights and sounds of the various neighborhoods around Seoul. If it’s traffic you’re worried about, bus routes do not suffer the same congestion as normal traffic routes. The blue demarcations of the bus-lanes in the major areas around Seoul ensure a free flow of bus traffic.
Ilban buses are sometimes referred to as city buses and are the most commonly seen type of bus in the city. Ilban buses come in yellow, blue and green. Bus numbers indicate the area of departure and arrival. A further digit or two denotes bus identification. To access a bus route search engine and Seoul BusMap visit http://bus.seoul.go.kr
- Blue Bus
- These buses connect suburban areas to downtown Seoul. Three types of blue bus exist: the bendable bus, the CNG (compressed natural gas) bus with a lower platform, and the regular CNG bus. These buses are controlled, in part, by the City of Seoul and travel at higher speeds and longer distances within the city than the other bus types. They can be identified by a three-digit numbering system: departure area + arrival area + single-digit number.
- Green Bus
- Green buses are controlled by private companies; these branch buses connect residential areas, subway lines and bus terminals. They can be identified by a four-digit numbering system: departure area + arrival area + double-digit serial number.
- Yellow Bus
- Circulation buses accommodate various traffic demands. Yellow buses circle downtown Seoul and make short stops at major tourist, shopping and business areas around the center of the city. They can be identified by a two-digit numbering system: area number + serial
- Red Bus
- Red buses, or express buses, are the quickest of the group for wide area line since they make fewer stops. These buses are the most comfortable and are designed to seat every passenger on the bus. Express buses come in various colors, and their main purpose is to provide commuters with easy access to neighboring cities, such as Ilsan, Bundang, Suji, Suwon, Anyang and Incheon. Express buses are labeled with a four-digit numbering system on the front, side and back.
- Maeul Bus
- These smaller community-based buses run shorter routes that often include residential areas. Maeul buses are easy to spot due to their significantly smaller size in comparison to other buses.