The most convenient way to get around in Busan is by using public transport. Though Busan isn’t nearly as congested as Seoul, there usually are significant traffic jams closer to the popular beach areas. Most expats choose public transport over owning their own car.
The subway system is smaller than in Seoul, however, it’s still extensive and an excellent way to get across the city conveniently and affordably. Public buses are another efficient way to get around. Street signs and subway signs in Busan are usually written in both English and Korean.
Public transport in Busan
Expats will easily be able to take advantage of integrated public transit in Busan. It’s possible to get almost anywhere in the city by using taxis, the subway or buses. Public transport is also inexpensive. The city offers a rechargeable T-money card. Transportation rates are even lower with the card than it's purchasing single-ticket rides. The card can be used for both the subway and bus systems and even in some taxis.
The subway system in Busan is extensive and can be used to get around most of the city. Passengers can buy single-trip tickets from vending machines at any subway station. However, the T-money card, which can be bought at subway stations and some stores, is more convenient for those who will use the subway regularly.
Busan recently converted the majority of its bus fleet to electric buses. Smaller green or blue buses only travel in their own neighbourhoods, while larger buses travel longer distances throughout the city. Major bus stops will have an electronic board showing which routes pass through the stop and when the next bus will arrive. Passengers pay when they get onto the bus with their T-money cards or they can use cash.
Taxis in Busan are very convenient and not too hard to come by. It’s possible to hail a taxi from the street or through Kakao Taxi – a local taxi-hailing app. All taxis have to run on a metre. Expats can pay their fair either with a credit card, local bank card, or in cash. It’s also sometimes possible to use a T-money card to pay for a trip if the passenger swipes it at the start and end of the journey.
Many drivers don’t speak English very well. It’s always a good idea to have the address or destination written down in Korean to show the driver. Some taxis advertise a free call-in interpretation service which English-speaking passengers can use to explain where they want to go.
►For country-specific transport information, read Transport and Driving in South Korea
►For answers to common queries about life in the city, read Frequently Asked Questions about Seoul
"The subway is easier to navigate than the buses (especially if you don’t read Korean)." Read more about Jenna's experiences with public transportation in Busan.
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