In Korea, high-speed trains are being used as a shield to block the inflow of the new coronavirus into the country. First of all, international arrivals displaying symptoms are isolated from the airport for treatment, and only those who do not have symptoms are transported in the KTX (high-speed train) exclusive compartment.
The reason for the operation of the exclusive rail car is firstly to help the safe return of the international arrivals, and at the same time, to block the contact between the new arrivals and domestic residents. Travellers who arrive at their homes in this way are required to be under self-quarantine for 14 days in accordance with Korean government regulations.
To curb the inflow of imported coronavirus cases, KTX carriages and airport buses exclusively used for people coming from overseas have been operating since 28 March.
The dedicated buses run from Incheon Airport to Gwangmyeong station 32 times daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. There are two stops at Incheon Airport. One is at Terminal 2 (Exit 3). The other is at Terminal 1 (Exit 4). The waiting area at Gwangmyeong Station has a separate space for passengers arriving from overseas until train departure.
KTX runs 44 times weekdays and 40 times on weekends by designating the exclusive coach for overseas arrivals on major routes where high-speed rail runs.
KTX (with 18 cars) dedicated coach No. 17 and 18, and KTX-Sancheon (with 8 cars) dedicated coach No. 8 as dedicated coach for overseas arrivals. To minimise contact with other passengers, one coach between the dedicated coach and the regular coach (KTX No. 16, Sancheon No. 7) is emptied out and has no passengers. In the empty coach, railway police officers are aboard to control the movement of the passengers in the dedicated coach.
Meanwhile, customers who have previously purchased tickets for the coaches and the user of the commuter pass using non-reserved seats are all being informed of the seat change through text and ‘KORAIL Talk’ app notification.
To contain the fast-spreading virus, KORAIL disinfects the inside and outside of airport buses every time they arrive at Gwangmyeong station. Cleaning and sanitisation are implemented six times a day on the path the new arrivals take. The special KTX coaches for international arrivals are also extensively sterilised after their operation.
Amid the prolonged coronavirus crisis, KORAIL is taking various actions to ensure the people’s right to move freely by providing public transportation as one of the safest modes. (Reference: UIC e-news #685, March 31, 2020).
Son Byeong-seok, CEO of KORAIL, said, “We will do our best to assure passengers with absolute coronavirus prevention and seamless operation.”