While much focus has been on the northern extension of the Bundang line which will not be open until 2012, an extension to the south end of the line is expected to open by the end of this year. Though no exact date has been set for the extension from Jukjeon to Giheung, rumor has it that the extension will not start operating until sometime in December. In fact, it was not until last month that the official station names were decided.
The extension which consists of four new stations is considered the first step in the link to Suwon and then of course, from Suwon to Incheon. The current station at Bojeong is actually a temporary station which was added onto the train depot in response to demand from a growing population in the area. On September 9, the names of the stations which were chosen by residents via an online poll were confirmed as Bojeong(보정), Guseong(구성), Shingal(신갈) and Giheung(기흥).
The extension is completely underground and connects with the still non-operational Everline. The Everline is an automated, above-ground rapit transit system that stretches across the city of Yongin to the Everland themepark. Despite the Everline having been completed over one year ago, opening of the line was put on hold until the connection to the Bundang line was made. Watch out for an upcoming post on the Everline and why it has been collecting dust for the last year.
While this all seems like good news, the Bundang line still lacks speed, slowed down by the all-stop trains and other factors mentioned here. As a result, the line still cannot compete with the express buses which speed along the dedicated highway bus lanes. While residents of Bundang and Yongin are sure to use the new extension to travel locally, it can be assumed that it will do little to ease the crowds which pile into Seoul-bound buses every morning.