I’m a bit indifferent to the news about Line 2 (2호선) of the Seoul Capital Area’s subway system potentially getting 24 hour service. On the face, this seems like a good move. It will be really convenient to make of the most popular lines even more accessible. However, I have some reservations.
The subway system in New York runs 24/7, and it has led to issues:
Unlike nearly every other subway system in the world, New York runs trains 24/7. Most systems perform maintenance at night, when the trains aren’t running. Since New York’s trains are always running, they do maintenance during the day, shutting down one track at a time and imposing special slow orders on trains running adjacent to work zones.
Further, I am also concerned that two other aspects of mass transit at night will be neglected if Line 2 starts running nonstop: bus service and taxis. The “Owl Bus” service routes are already limited, expensive, and have long service intervals. They go outside of the range of what Line 2 would theoretically cover, too.
Using taxis at night in popular areas is already nearly impossible. Trying to grab a cab in Hongdae (홍대), Itaewon (이태원), or Gangnam (강남) is like playing the lottery. Furthermore, while 84% of taxi drivers are signed up for the Kakaotaxi service (카카오택시), many seem to neglect the app on an arbitrary, subjective basis.
I’m not necessarily against Line 2 running non-stop. I live near a station on Line 2, so in fact I have a vested interest in this happening. But, I have some concerns that I think should be addressed first.