At 2:00pm on the 19th, a number of people gathered at the entrance of the ticket office of the new subway’s Mangpo Station. The mayor of Suwon Yeom Tae-young, Kim Jin-pyo, lawmaker Shin Jang-yong, chair of the Suwon City Council Noh Yeong-gwan, members of the city council, members of the provincial assembly, and citizens participated in a trial ride ceremony prior to the full opening of the Suwon-Ori double-track subway on 30th. They were briefed by an official of the Korea Rail Network Authority, which constructed the subway, and rode a trial train. On November 30th, last year, the opening ceremony for the city’s subway, which had been the wish of 1.17 million Suwon citizens, was held at Yeongtongsa Park (Saetbyeol Park) near Cheongmyeong Station. This ceremony marked the dawn of the ‘Suwon Subway Era’. The extension of the Bundang Line, which runs the section of Giheung-Sanggal-Cheongmyeong-Yeongtong-Mangpo, was officially opened on December 1st. This line enables 40-miniute travel from Suwon City to Gangnam. In addition, the latest section of Mangpo-Maetan- City Hall-Maegyo-Suwon is to open in the near future, another signal of the advent of the Suwon Subway Era.
Resolving Suwon’s traffic congestion
The extension of the Bundang Line departing from Seongnam Ori Station, crosses the region from east to west, and arrives at Suwon Station. This historic construction project started in 2004 and has continued for 10 years with a total budget of 1.3902 trillion won. As a result, the first 7.4km2 section that runs from Giheung to Mangpo was opened on December 1st, and this time, the following section from Mangpo to Suwon is scheduled to open.
In other words, the section that connects from Mangpo to Suwon, which was originally planned to be completed on December 30th, is to open one month early. The extension of the Bundang Line from Seongnam Ori to Suwon spans 19.55km. The section from Giheung to Mangpo (7.4km) began operation on December 1st, last year. Following this, the section from Mangpo to Suwon (5.2 km) will open on November 30th. As a result, the entire section of the extension will be connected. The section from Mangpo to Suwon has four stations including Maetan Gwonseon Station, Suwon City Station, Maegyo Station, and Suwon Station.
At the trial ride event, the mayor of Suwon Yeom Tae-young praised the hard work of those related to the construction and said, “With the opening of the Mangpo-Suwon section, Suwon will be able to enter the subway era. The opening of this section is likely to dramatically improve the traffic congestion of Suwon. Now, Suwon has become much faster and brought the great innovation of public transportation modes. The opening of the subway will upgrade the value of our city Suwon.”
Open on the 30th, 40 minutes to Gangnam without traffic
When Lot No. 5 and 6 of the Bundang Line and Lot No.1 of the Suin Line are opened, the entire section of the Bundang Line will be connected. This will shorten the travel time from Suwon Station to Wangshimni, Seoul to 1.5 hours, thereby not only increasing the convenience of commuting, but also greatly relieving the traffic congestion of Suwon. Travelling from Suwon to Gangnam was particularly inconvenient. Now, with the opening of the section, travel time will be 40 minutes without the influence of traffic during rush hours.
A citizen who participated in the trial ride, Lee (female, age 37) said, “With the advent of Suwon’s subway era, our city is likely to bring greater advances. The opening of the subway, a long-cherished desire of Suwon citizens one month earlier than expected, was likely the result of the efforts of all the relevant officials and workers. I appreciate the work of all concerned officials including those from Suwon City and the Subway Corporation. I am also grateful that I can use the subway to get to Suwon Station, get out of the station, and then can be directly connected to the railway service. The best thing is that I can get out of traffic and having to transfer many times using public transportation.”
Suwon City is preparing various events starting from the 29th prior to the opening of the subway. A ceremony to celebrate the opening of the entire section of the Ori to Suwon dual-track subway will be held at the Olympic Park in front of Suwon City Hall, Ingye-dong at 3:00pm on the 29th. This ceremony will feature a performance from the Suwon Philhamonic Orchestra, a pungmul band, the large drum performance of the Sori Power of Nanta, and a performance from a Marine Corps band.
In addition, a small music concert will be held at the waiting space of each station (Maetan Gwonseon, Suwon City Hall, Maegyo, and Suwon Station) to celebrate the opening of the subway from 6:00 to 7:30pm on December 2nd. While Suwon is entering the subway era in earnest, some locals are suggesting that the subway line should be renamed to something related to Suwon, instead of Bundang or Shinbundang Line. Therefore, future development surrounding the subway name remains to be seen.