Monday, December 14, 2009

Korea Train Express.

Public transportation at a cool 186mph. Not bad. Thanks France. The official KTX website has some sweet animations (best viewed in IE - sorry world). It's an experience for sure. Kudos to 현우 for providing an overview. Also here. And here. He's awesome.

Since 2005, daily commuters totaled a little more than 100,000. There were 450,000 more commuters in the second half of 2008 than of the first half due to rising oil prices (and thus higher ticket prices). The Korean government says there were about 38 million total passengers on the bullet train in 2008, a 1.9% increase from 2007. Apparently a lot of people like their speed.

Slow down there, partner
Now, not to freak out anyone, but some people think we should take things a bit slower if the KTX is to stay in current safe operation. Ouch. Read the blueprints next time, guys. However, it's nice to hear that a steady flow of construction is yielding improvements to the existing system. Always nice to hear of Busan getting some KTX love. This is here and now. Current technology is awesome but I can only imagine what the future holds.

But sometimes it begs the question: Why need the speed? I mean, remember that Korea is not exactly a huge country in terms of land mass. I suppose with the sheer amount of travelers it makes the difference between a five hour trip and a three hour trip - well worth the higher fee versus a traditional train or bus.

My question to you all is this: Am I the only one that feels my soul trying to catch up with my body? Needless to say it makes me a little queasy. I feel like I'm battling the Phantom Train all over again - like I must not let the train beat me. But then, why do I feel fine on an airplane that easily exceeds 550 mph?