SEOUL, July 1 (Yonhap) -- Seoul introduced a new traffic system Thursday, aimed at easing congestion on the road and encouraging more use of public transportation.
Starting from 4 a.m., Seoul implemented measures to revolutionize its public transportation system and to provide better services.
The most noticeable change was the average time of travel on buses.
Under the new system, the metropolitan government designated the innermost lanes of roads in both directions in three highly-congested areas for buses only.
The new lanes were put into use on the 4.8-kilometer stretch of road from Shinsa subway station to the outskirts of Yangjae District, the 6.8-kilometer road connecting Ilsan and Ewha Womans University in northwestern Seoul and the 15.8-kilometer road between Euijeongbu and Jongno, downtown Seoul.
The average speed of buses on the lanes were 10 to 20 kilometers per hour faster than usual, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said.
The average speed of private vehicles, however, dropped to about 20 kilometers per hour as the number of accessible lanes decreased because of the bus-only lanes, in addition to the usual bus-only outermost lanes.
The Seoul government is also planning on designating inner lanes in three other areas for buses at the end of October.
In addition to the lanes, buses have been given new numbers and are now in more noticeable and brighter colors of red, green, blue and yellow.
The new numbers and colors vary depending on where the buses operate. For instance, red means the bus goes to a city outside of Seoul in Gyeonggi Province, such as Bundang and llsan, while yellow means the route is limited to downtown Seoul.
Another significant change in the transportation system is a change in the fees.
The basic fare for both buses and subways increased to 800 won for the first 10 kilometers traveled, but passengers will be able to change their method of transportation up to five times without any additional fee as long as their total distance does not exceed 10 kilometers.
In other words, a person can transfer from a bus to a subway or vice versa without having to pay any additional fare as long as 10 kilometers are not exceeded.
Anyone traveling beyond the limit will be charged about an extra 100 won for every extra kilometer traveled, according to city government officials.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government also introduced a new transportation card, called T-Money. Unlike conventional transportation cards and credit cards linked to transportation service, the T-Money allows users to add their public transportation mileage to the kind accumulated from flights and other transportation services.
For more information, visit Seoul's Web site explaining the system (http://bus.seoul.go.kr), available only in Korean, or call the tourist hotline, 1330.
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