Once the high-speed railway launches next month, transportation between Asan station in Cheonan and Seoul station will only take 34 minutes. There will be no large gap in transportation from Bundangs new town in Gyeonggi-do to downtown Seoul in terms of time. Instead, that city will become closer than any other city around Seoul. Some are saying that Cheonan city of Chungnam province will become Cheonan district of Seoul city.
It will become easier to see a clothes seller at Kookjae market in Busan, come out from his house early morning and go to the Namdaemun wholesale market in Seoul to buy some goods, and later display them in his store in the afternoon of the same day.
The government will hold an opening ceremony at the Seoul station today with acting President Goh Kun and Minister of Construction and Transportation Kang Dong-seok attending. The first train of the Korea Train Express (KTX) will leave Busan station on April 1 at 5:05 a.m. for Seoul.
Every part of the nation is expected to become connected within a fourth of the days distance due to the launching of KTX. It will take two hours and 40 minutes from Seoul to Busan, and two hours and 58 minutes from Seoul to Mokpo.
According to the innovation in transportation, it is likely to make an overall change in living trends such as housing, leisure, commuting and others. It seems to impact economic aspects too. The airline and distribution industries are ready to show different trends, and the consumer shopping culture is awaiting changes as well. Business culture, including official trips, is also expected to experience change in the near future.
--Evolving Shopping and Business Cultures
Samsung Corning Precision Glass Co., which manufactures LCD glasses, is planning to extend a six-hour distance business trip starting in April. The reason is that transportation between Seoul station and the company plant located in Asan city will be drastically reduced from one hour and 40 minutes to forty or fifty minutes.
From now on, it will be possible to work at Asan plant in the morning and also continue to work in Seoul in the latter part of the day, Jang Sang-man, a public relations manager of the company said. Some of the married workers staying at the dormitory in Asan city can start to plan on commuting from Seoul.
Samsung Electronics Co. plans to transfer its overall LCD headquarters to Tangjung common in Asan city from Seoul by June. The company already decided to move its planning and human resources division, and is currently reviewing the possibility of transferring its sales and marketing division.
LG Electronics Co. is amending its internal business trip regulation in order to reduce inconveniences of the workers of Gumi plant in Kyungbuk province and Changwon plant in Kyungnam province, who may use KTX instead of the Saemaeul express in the future.
Shopping culture will also show a big change. The local dwellers living nearby KTX will benefit from easier access to high-quality luxurious department stores and large discount stores, or the Dongdaemun and Namdaemun traditional markets. Accordingly, distribution industries in metropolitan areas have high expectations, whereas the local stores on the other hand are concerned about their loyal customers heading to Seoul and are thus trying to take measures. A manager of D department store in Daegu city said that the department plans to intensify its offerings of imported luxury goods, especially in clothes, golf accessories and cosmetics, in order not to lose its customers to stores in metropolitan area.
--Airlines and transportation industries also face change
Airlines and express bus companies are also expecting changes in the transportation sector.
Korean Air and Asiana Airlines will largely cut down their routes between Kimpo and Busan, and between Kimpo and Daegu. Korean Air will reduce its flights between Kimpo and Daegu from nine to two a day. Airline industries that strive to attract customers who take the Kimpo - Busan routes are holding events that offer a variety of gifts during April.
Express bus companies are also anxious. The big ten companies, including Hanjin, Dongbu, Kumho, Dongyang and Kolon, are jointly planning on curtailing their service and other measures.
--Balanced local development is to be solved
The Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS) forecasted that the operation of the high-speed railway itself will intensify the concentration of metropolitan cities. High-speed railway with no function of freight transportation will bring less effects on local development than express highways, and it is highly possible it will attract the population towards the capital city, Cho Nam-geon, a researcher of KRIHS said. An additional government policy is required for the sake of local development.