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Lesson Transcript

Seol: 안녕하세요. 윤설입니다.
Minkyeong: 안녕하세요. 민경입니다.
Keith: Keith here. Korean Culture Class Number 19, Korean Public Transportation. Okay, now, as Korea is well it’s not the biggest place, but it’s not the smallest place either. So there’s a couple of big cities,
Seol: Like Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Daegu.

Lesson focus

Keith: Right and in Korea, where’s public transportation the most well established?
Minkyeong: Seoul, of course.
Keith: What about Busan? What about Daegu, Incheon? There’s tons of places?
Seol: They have good public transportation, but not like Seoul.
Keith: Yeah, actually Seoul is… Well, it is the capital city and the most people live there. I think about a quarter of the population lives there, huh?
Seol: Seoul and near Seoul.
Keith: Yeah, so the public transportation has to be good. So basically we are talking about public transportation in Seoul, and in Seoul, how many forms of public transportation are there?
Minkyeong: About three.
Keith: Yeah, I think that’s a fair estimate.
Seol: Yeah. There’s a bus.
Minkyeong: Subway.
Keith: And there’s also taxi - that’s my favorite.
Seol: Yeah, you’re rich.
Keith: No, I'm just lazy. Very lazy.. But actually taxies aren’t so expensive anyway.
Seol: They’re not.
Minkyeong: Yeah.
Keith: All right. So why don’t we start with that one. We’re going to go a couple of ways how you can use public transportation in Korea so you can use it on your trip to Korea, if you are living there, if you are just going to move there, how do you use it? All right, so taxis. First of all, how do you grab a taxi?
Minkyeong: You put your hands up and you wave. And call, “Taxi!”
Keith: Well, I mean… Okay, first of all, what’s the word for taxi?
Seol: 택시 [slowly - broken down by syllable] 택시 [natural native speed]
Keith: And it’s not that simple Minkyeong. I mean, yes, you put your hands up, you wave, you say 택시, right? But in the west, when you call someone over, you put your hand up and you wave your palm towards you. Like this, you put your hands out and you wave your palm is facing up and you wave your hand in, towards you. So it’s having an up motion, and in Korea that’s bad.
Seol: Yeah, that’s bad. Like if you do that, they will think you’re really rude.
Keith: Right, and culturally speaking, you have to flip your arm so that your hand is making a downward motion.
Seol: Right
Keith: So if you doing that, that’s not considered rude. Well, when you call over kids or people, you do it with your hand facing down? But to animals, to dogs, cats, “Oh come over here,” you do it the opposite way, your hand is facing up.
Seol: Good point.
Keith: So it’s not that simple.
Seol: But you know for Minkyeong it’s really simple. She’s pretty and all the drivers will look at her.
Minkyeong: No.
Keith: Are we going to have a culture class on how to pick up taxi drivers?
Seol: Okay.
Keith: All right, so basically put your hand up …
Minkyeong: And you wave side by side, yeah, like this.
Seol: Anyway, You’re going to get a taxi.
Keith: Okay, either side by side or with your hand with a downward motion.
Minkyeong: Downward, yeah.
Keith: Okay, so we got the taxi, we get in, and what do we have? What’s the base charge?
Seol: It starts from 1,900 won.
Keith: That’s close to $2 American dollars. And what do you call that?
Minkyeong: 기본료.
Keith: Standard fee.
Minkyeong: 기본료 [slowly - broken down by syllable] 기본료 [natural native speed]
Keith: And, that’s in Seoul. What about some other places? Are they all the same?
Minkyeong: Yeah, I had that some other places, it’s cheaper than Seoul
Seol: But maybe the same, about 100 won cheaper or 100 won expensive.
Minkyeong: Yeah, it’s like about the same price.
Keith: Okay, about 1900 won, close to $2, very cheap. And does it go really quickly?
Seol: Not really. I just feel the taxi fee is reasonable in Korea so…
Keith: It’s very reasonable, I think too .
Seol: Yeah.
Keith: So, let’s say a 10 minute drive, how much will it come up to?
Seol: 3,000원?
Minkyeong: Yeah around there.
Keith: About $3. Wow, it’s very cheap. So a lot of times, I would take the taxi from 강남 all the way to ... let’s say 홍대 or something. So it will come up to 만 원 about 10,000 won maybe, 1,5000원 1,5000 won, that’s like $10, and I am going on across the city.
Seol: As a cheap student, I’m going to take a subway.
Keith: Okay, but my point is it’s not so expensive.
Seol: Okay.
Minkyeong: It’s cheap but, you don’t know if there is traffic. And like the prices go up at night so you don’t know how much it’s going to cost.
Seol: Yeah, that’s why I prefer the subway, sorry.
Keith: Okay, so let’s talk about the taxi, really quickly then we will get to the subway. So at night time around what time does the percentage go up?
Seol: From midnight it goes up about 20 percent.
Keith: And a lot of times, when I was hanging out late at night and I wanted to take a taxi home, if I lived in a certain area, someone would ask me, “Hey, do you live in this area?” And if I said no, then they wouldn’t take me. They want to take people they want to go in the direction that they want to go in. And if you are on their way, yeah hop in, but if not, find another taxi.
Seol: Yeah, taxi drivers need to take a rest. They want go home so that’s why they pick up those passengers.
Keith: Yeah, who are on the way to their house or in the same neighborhood maybe?
Seol: And if you go out of Seoul even if it’s like 10 minutes away from Seoul, the price goes up 20 percent, so…
Keith: Yeah, you’ve got to be careful if you live in 분당 or maybe 일산.
Seol: Sure. Once I lived in 부천, which is a little bit away from Seoul, so I made a negotiation with the taxi driver.
Keith: Right. And a lot of times you can make negotiations just like that right?
Seol: Sure.
Keith: So you set a price before you get into the taxi. And I think this only works if you live outside of Seoul though? You negotiate a price beforehand and then, “Okay, we’ll go there.”
Minkyeong: Yeah, just like when you go airport or something, you negotiate before you hop in.
Keith: Yeah, you can negotiate if you are outside of Seoul. If you are within Seoul not so sure if you can negotiate or not. All right, so let’s move on to subways. It’s very consistent, very easy, very simple to use.
Seol: Yeah, my favorite one.
Keith: And in Seoul, Seoul speaking, how many lines are there?
Seol: About 10, 10 lines.
Keith: Yeah, close to there, I think they are constantly constructing new lines and, just recently, they opened up a new line, didn’t they?
Seol: Yeah, they did. The new 분당 line.
Keith: Yeah. Right now there’s 2 분당 lines. And, for those of you that don’t know, 분당 is a suburb of Seoul. It’s not in Seoul, it’s a suburb of Seoul. Okay, so there’s two lines that go from Seoul to 분당, and what about the other lines?
Minkyeong: It just goes around everywhere in Seoul.
Keith: And what’s the number one line that everyone should know when going to Korea?
Seol: 2호선.
Keith: The number two line.
Seol: 2호선 [slowly - broken down by syllable] 2호선 [natural native speed]
Keith: And why is that? Why should everybody know that line?
Minkyeong: It goes around in circle and it hits all the major places in Seoul.
Keith: And what are some of the major places that this line hits?
Minkyeong: 잠실.
Keith: And they have the Lotte World over there, that amusement park?
Seol: 삼성.
Keith: The Co-ex, the Co-ex Mall is over there?
Minkyeong: 강남.
Keith: A lot of restaurants, a lot of bars, clubs, just nightlife area?
Seol: And, your favorite, 홍대 입구.
Keith: Yeah, I like that place a lot. There’s a lot of interesting things over there. It’s like an art school, that’s why it’s kind of interesting .
Seol: Yeah, and a lot of clubs.
Keith: I don’t like clubs that much.
Seol: Okay, okay.
Keith: All right, so it hits all the major areas. So that 2호선 is the line to take. So how does the naming system work? We just talked about 2호선, the number two line. Is there a number one line?
Seol: Sure, we have 1호선, the number one line.
Keith: Ok so there is 3호선. Number three line?
Seol: Sure.
Keith: 4호선. Number four line. How about number 5 line?
Minkyeong: 5호선
Keith: Okay, how about number 6?
Seol: 6호선
Keith: Number 7?
Seol: 7호선
Keith: Eight?
Seol: 8호선. What are you doing now?
Keith: Wait, 9?
Seol: We have 9호선, yes.
Keith: And how about 10?
Seol: I guess we’re constructing 10호선 too.
Keith: Really?
Seol: I guess so, I am not sure yet.
Keith: So all those lines where built in that order? Number one was built first, number two was built second…
Seol: Yes
Keith: pretty interesting factual information.
Seol: Yeah.
Keith: Okay, what’s the 기본료 for the Korean subway system?
Minkyeong: 1,000원.
Keith: 1,000 won. That’s okay.
Minkyeong: But if you have the transportation card, it’s 900원.
Keith: 900 won. Right. And what’s the transportation card called?
Minkyeong: 교통카드.
Keith: Right. And this one works for both the subway and the bus?
Minkyeong: And you need this when you transfer to subway or bus.
Keith: Right. So how do we pay for this? You know, we’re all law-abiding citizens except Seol over here, she jumps over the stalls, but how do we pay for this?
Minkyeong: The standard fee is 1,000 Won.
Keith: If you pay by cash, of course?
Minkyeong: Yeah, so if you go farther than the standard section, it goes up to 1,100원, 1,200원.
Keith: 1100, 1200. And if you are not sure, before you even enter the subway station, you can look up, there’s a map. And each station has a number next to it. And that’s the number you going to pay if you want to go that station.
Minkyeong: Yes.
Keith: Right so we have the map we know what price we want and how do we buy our tickets?
Minkyeong: There is the ticket machine.
Keith: Right. You just put your money in, you press the price you need, then take your money out and off you go. But if you don’t want to use the machine or, you know, you just don’t know how much it is, maybe you can’t read 한글 yet. You can also ask the person as well.
Minkyeong: Yes, there is the counter, ticketing counter, and then you just say where you’re going and they will tell you what the price is.
Keith: Right. You know, you are new to Korea you don’t know any Korean yet, “Ah, I want to go to 동대문.” You don’t even need to say “I want to go” just say 동대문, 강남, the place you want to go and the person will give you the price. All right, so we got our tickets and then how do we use it?
Minkyeong: You put it in the machine when you go into the subway and then the ticket comes out, and then you take the ticket and you…
Keith: Ride the subway.
Minkyeong: Yeah.
Keith: Do your thing, go where have to go.
Seol: And you have to put the ticket back when you exit, and that’s it.
Keith: Right. So remember to hold on to your tickets because a lot of times, people lose their tickets. “Oh, what am I to do, what am I supposed to…” You know, just a little secret. I don’t know, you guys probably don’t know about this, but if you play the I don’t know any Korean card...
Seol: You’re asking that person, “Sorry, I just lost my card, I cannot speak Korean at all, what can I do?” Like this?
Keith: Sometimes it works. My friend got away with that all the time.
Minkyeong: Without buying any tickets or...
Keith: I don’t know. She just went, “I don’t have a ticket, I don’t speak Korean. 아 귀찮아. It’s annoying. I don’t want to deal with this. Okay, go ahead.” Just a little secret, ok. Let’s move on the next public transportation, the bus.
Minkyeong: Yeah. So if you get out of subway and you want to take a bus, you could actually transfer almost free.
Keith: And, for that, you have to have a 교통카드, a transportation card? Right?
Minkyeong: Yeah, you have to have it.
Keith: Right. So if you want to get that free transfer or nearly free transfer, you need a 교통카드. And, just really quickly, where can we buy these cards?
Minkyeong: The subway ticketing counters.
Seol: Yeah, in the station.
Keith: And they also have them at convenient stores and little shops, stands.
Seol: Yeah. You can charge them there.
Keith: Right. So you can pay a certain amount upfront and then once you run out of money, you can charge them again. So they are all over the place. And what the one in Seoul called?
Minkyeong: 티머니.
Keith: Right, the T-money card. Okay, so if you get out the subway station and you go to a bus directly. The transfer, it’s automatic, right? You don’t have to do anything, Just click your card.
Minkyeong: Yeah, but you have to take the bus in 30 minutes.
Keith: Or your transfer runs out?
Seol: Yeah.
Keith: And then you got to pay full fair again?
Minkyeong: Yeah. So you can transfer 5 times.
Keith: Yeah, right.
Seol: I’m serious. But it cannot be the same bus, the same number of the bus.
Keith: Wait. So let’s say I wanted to see all of Seoul and I have a 1000 Won, I can do that?
Seol: Yeah. But make sure you take the bus in half an hour.
Keith: So each bus has to be within 30 minutes or your transfer runs out.
Seol: Yeah, but you have to be careful that, you know, if you go more than 10 kilometers, the fee will go up. So it’s going to be about 1200 or 1300.
Keith: That’s still really cheap to see all of Seoul.
Seol: Yeah, the good point of Korea.
Keith: Actually, yeah. I think that’s one of the best parts of Korea. The transportation is so cheap.
Seol: It’s real cheap and really convenient.
Keith: And one thing I really want to mention before we finish this lesson is Korean bus drivers.
Seol: Why you don’t like them? I love them. They’re really fast and tough.
Keith: Tough
Seol: Tough and fast.
Keith: Yeah, they are fast which is great thing – “Ah, yeah, I get there like in 20 minutes.” It’s faster than the subway sometimes, even.
Seol: Yeah.
Keith: But men, you really got to hold on to something tight.
Seol: Yeah, I like that kind of tough driving.
Keith: Are you that kind of driver?
Seol: No. Yes.
Keith: All right so before we wrap up, any other last tips for our listeners?
Seol: If you have the credit card, you can add the function of transportation card.
Keith: All right. All you’ve got to do is call up your credit card company and say, “Hey, I want a transportation card on this.”
Seol: And then you don’t have to charge in advance. You can pay it later.
Keith: Right, that’s credit card.
Seol: Yeah, that’s credit card, sorry.
Minkyeong: And if you have a transportation card, you could pay for all your friends too, you know?
Keith: Ah, that’s right, before you get into the bus, you can say, “Oh, it’s going to be four people, and one, two, three, four.”
Minkyeong: And it works for the transfer too. But you can’t use it for subways, so be careful.
Keith: Right. Only the buses. And the buses are actually one of my favorite ways to travel in Korea. It’s very fast, like Seol said. And they are very efficient as well, but one really quick tip before we leave. If you’re in Korea, you don’t know where to go, and you have to get there by a certain time, the best number to call is 1330. So if you are in Seoul is 02-1330. If you’re calling from a regular pay phone, 1330. If you’re calling from a cell phone, you need 02-1330. And it’s the tourism hotline in Korea, and they’ll tell you anything - what time the buses are, where they go, which bus to take, which subway to take, and even, you know, if anything you want… “Hey, do you have any good restaurant suggestions or…” And they speak both Korean and English.
Seol: Wow, that’s a great tip, for our listeners.
Keith: It’s a great tip for you too.
Seol: Thank you.
Keith: You could use it too.
Seol: Yeah, okay. Thank you very much.


Keith: All right, so I hope this was a helpful lesson and happy ridings to our listeners.
Seol: Yeah and try to take a bus and enjoy the tough driving.
Minkyeong: Have a nice trip in Korea.
Keith: Bye.