Seoulites commute to work for average 40 minutes
By Lee Hyo-sik
Lee Sung-sik, a 36-year-old office worker, leaves home for work at around 7:30 a.m. every morning. He lives in northern Seoul and takes the subway for about 40 minutes to his workplace in southern Seoul.
His wife, Kim Hee-young, 33, leaves the house between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., after taking care of household chores. She’s a housewife and usually goes shopping at a nearby department store or hangs out with friends at a coffee shop.
Lee and Kim describe the lifestyle of typical Seoulties, according to a study on urban dwellers’ movement patterns, conducted by the Korea Transport Institute.
After surveying 437,000 urban households across the country, the institute said Wednesday that Koreans residing in cities spent an average of 36 minutes and 30 seconds to get to work in 2010, 30 seconds shorter than 10 years ago.
Seoulties spent 40 minutes and 48 seconds on average to commute, followed by those living in Incheon (40 minutes and 18 seconds) and Busan (34 minutes and 18 seconds).
About 33.3 percent of city workers were found to leave home between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., while 32 percent do so from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Only 17 percent of urban employees leave the house before 7 a.m.
But 24 percent of those residing in industrial city of Ulsan leave home before 7 a.m., the highest proportion among the nation’s large cities, as factory workers are normally required to report to start work earlier, compared to their office worker counterparts.
The institute also found that housewives usually leave the house to go shopping or other purposes between 10 a.m. and noon after sending their husbands to work and children to school.
The number of registered passenger vehicles reached 13.63 million nationwide last year, up 68 percent from 8.08 million in 2000. The ratio of passenger vehicles to households jumped to 0.8 from 0.56 over the 10-year period.
According to the survey, 57 percent of elementary students were attending private institutes or a hagwon after school.
About 28.8 percent of Koreans moved from one place to another most frequently by driving a car in 2010, up from 25.9 percent 10 years ago.
The ratio of those who walk or ride a bike as their primary means of transportation jumped to 34.9 percent from 27.4 percent.