Published: May 25th 2011May 22nd 2011
All travelers coming to South Korea to live, work or travel needs to learn the secrets to catching a bus or expect to be standing curbside all alone. The best approach to gaining access onto a bus is learning the psyche of Korean bus drivers. A bus driver's main concern is getting from point A to point B in the fastest, most efficient manner. The good news is on average the bus will arrive at the destination before its scheduled time. The bad news is the bus driver will do everything in his power to press the gas pedal and not the break pedal. These drivers will not hesitate at stone cold red lights driving straight through them. They will swerve between other motorists whether space exists or not to get to point B. They will drive on the outer most edge of the highway skirting the asphalt embankments. And when matters dictate it, they will drive down the inner most lane next to the guardrail. Ironically when there are no guardrails they will even chance driving into oncoming traffic.
As a passenger your main objective is getting the driver's attention well before they reach the bus stop.
two scenarios are reasons why you will still be curbside when the bus arrives. (1) You are standing on the curb looking anywhere but towards the bus. Therefore not signaling to get the drivers attention. (2) You are at a busy bus stop and try going around, or between buses and the driver fails to see you.
The reason scenario #1 will not stop the bus is you are not visible on the curb to the driver and they are always trying to be more efficient thus pulling to the curb picking up passengers eludes efficiency. Reason #2 will not yield the bus is you are now completely invisible.
As long as you follow these three steps, you have a 75% chance of getting on a bus;
1) When you spot the bus approaching step off the curb into the street
2) When the driver is visible stretch out one arm into the road way
3) With your arm out wave three times up and down
The reason this method works brilliantly is (1) you have left the curb indicating you want a ride (2) you are easily recognizable as a passenger and (3) you are waving
your arm to get the drivers attention
There are many reasons why drivers will ignore passengers whether you do the above or not but these four additional gestures might be needed now and again.
1) Step off the curb and move twice as far into the road waving both arms
2) Wave your arms and jump up and down on the street
3) Run after the bus, down the road as its driving away hoping the driver glimpses in the side view mirror
4) Throw any object within arms reach; a coffee cup, coke can, rock or shoe
5) If you dare, try banging the side of said bus before it passes
Once the bus has come to a full or rolling stop allowing you to entrance onto said bus, it is polite to smile at the driver, greeting them with a hello (an-yan-ha-see-yo), scan your T-money card or pay with cash and find a seat, if no seats are available walk to the back and hold on your destination awaits.
There are more photos below