With the start of 2024, the first self-driving buses will also peep onto the streets of the city of Seoul, but for the moment only at night. The metropolitan government has in fact approved the launch of the service, which will be free of charge for the first few months, during the pilot period, before switching to a charge within the first half of the year. The autonomous night bus will in fact accept passenger cards, just like normal buses.
Seoul’s autonomous A21 night bus will therefore start its night service at 23:30 and will initially operate on a 9.8 km route from Hapjeong station to Dongdaemun station. Subsequently, the service will be extended to Cheongnyangni station, a total of 13.2 km.
Once the data from the pilot project have been analysed,the city also plans to set up regular autonomous long-distance bus lines connecting the city’s suburbs with the centre, transporting people 24/7.
The A21 line is therefore only the first step in a process that will soon bring more and more self-driving buses onto the roads of South Korea.
In a separate announcement, the metropolitan government also anticipated plans to significantly expand the installation of heated bus stop benches throughout the city to provide greater comfort for passengers waiting for the bus during the winter season. In fact, the city’s aim is to create a comfortable environment for public transport even in winter, thus promoting more sustainable mobility throughout the year.