Many cities across Asia are currently extensively expanding their metro networks. Lines are opening all the time, offering options for escaping the sometimes stupendous ubran traffic, and providing more convenient connections to different parts of each city. Here we take a look at some of the more recently opened metro line expansions and what they might mean for you when you are in town.
What’s new: The Sinbundang line. “Sin” means new in Korean, so this translates as “New Bandung Line” as the metro network already had a Bundang line
When it opened: October 28, 2011
Length: 17.3 km
Where it goes: From the Gangnam Station in the southeastern Seoul, the line goes out in a south east direction to Jeongja Station in Bundang an area outside of Seoul, passing through Yangjae, Yangjae Citizen’s Forest, Cheonggyesan and Pangyo Stations on the way. It intersects with Line 3 at Yangjae and Line 2 at Gangnam.
What it means for you: The new line means it takes about 15 minutes, or a third of the previous journey time, to travel between Gangnam and Bundang, home to numerous businesses, especially those in the IT sector. The terminus Jeongja Station is close to the headquarters of Korean outsourcing firm SK C&C, and nearby KINS Tower houses research and development centres for companies including Intel and Siemens. Bundang is also where the headquarters of Korea Telecom (KT) and Korea Land Corporation are located.
Cost: A standard ticket from Gangnam to Jeongja is KRW2050 (US$1.85)
What’s new: Western extension of Luobao Line (Line 1)
When it opened: June 15, 2011
Length: 20 km
Where it goes: The existing Luobao line starts at Luohu, the oldest business district of the city and where the main checkpoint with Hong Kong is located. It then runs parallel to the coast in a west direction as far as Shenzhen University. The new track extends further west in Bao’an district, then goes north up to Shenzhen International Airport, passing through Qianhaiwan and Bao’an Centre Stations.
What it means for you: The new line lets you take the metro all the way to the airport, taking about 68 minutes from Shenzhen Rail Station in Luohu district. By bus this trip takes a minimum of 2 hours, or 50 minutes by taxi, and it is highly dependent on the traffic. At RMB9 (US$1.4) it is also much cheaper than the bus fare of RMB25 (US$4) or about RMB100 (US$15) by taxi. The line also provides convenient transport to businesses located in the eastern part of Shenzhen, such as the large export hub at the Qianhaiwan Logistics Park, and the large number of factories located in the Bao’An District.
Cost: To travel from Luohu to Airport East Station costs RMB9 (US$1.4).
What’s new: The new Bayfront Station on the Circle Line Extension
When it opened: January 14, 2012
Where it goes: The branch line splits off from the Circle Line at Promenade Station (which is next to the Millennia Tower). It heads south over the water to new Bayfront Station and then on to Marina Bay Station, where it connects with the North South Line.
What it means for you: The new Bayfront station provides passengers traveling from the east side of the city, including Changi Airport, with very convenient access to the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, as well as links to the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort and Gardens by The Bay.
Cost: A standard ticket from Changi Airport to Bayfront Station costs S$2.20 (US$1.80).
What’s new: Trinity Station, in Phase 1 of the city’s new metro network
When it opened: October 20, 2011
Where it goes: The line currently starts at Mahatma Ghandi Road station, to the east of the city centre, and then runs in an easterly direction to Baiyappanahalli, located on the outskirts of the city towards the International Technology Park, passing through Trinity, Halasuru, Indira Nagar, and Swami Vivekananda stations.
What it means for you: The line provides a congestion-beating link between the city’s CBD around Mahatma Ghandi Road, home to hotels such as the Oberoi and Taj Residency, and the eastern areas of the city that are home to many of its technology companies and other industries. The new line is just a small part of a planned network that will reach much further west.
Cost: To travel from Mahatma Ghandi Road to Baiyappanahalli costs just INR15 (US$0.20)
Airport Rail Link
What’s new: The City Line and the Express Line
When it opened: August 23, 2010 (Express service from Phaya Thai, 1 June 2011)
Where it goes: The link has two lines. The City Line starts at Phaya Thai to the northeast of the centre, passes through Makkassan and then goes due east from there, stopping at a number of points along the way to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. The Express Line originally started from Makkassan (although from June 2011 a second service began running starting at Phaya Thai) and then goes from there directly to the airport.
What it means for you: The Express Line means you can get from near the centre of Bangkok to the airport in around 15 minutes, a journey which would take 30 minutes minimum by taxi and could take longer with the traffic. The train link is also much cheaper, costing THB90 (US$3) one way, compared to around THB250 (US$8) for a taxi.
Cost: Express line THB90 (US$3) one way or THB150 return