Tips for Travelers with Disabilities
Arrival at Incheon International Airport
Voted the best airport in the world for 12 consecutive years, Incheon International Airport is a fully accessible facility. Upon request, service agents will provide assistance with entry documents, immigration procedures, and baggage claim,as well as escort to transportation. The airport is equipped with electric vehicles to shuttle passengers with mobility and visual impairments to and from the gates. Escort services are also available before departure.
Using one of the help phones located throughout the passenger terminal (Entrances 3, 7, 8 & 12) will connect you directly with the Airport Help Desk if you are in need of any assistance. Wheelchairs can be rented for free at the information desks on the departure level (Entrances 3 & 12) or the arrival floor (Entrances 5 & 10).
Incheon International Airport Help Desk
* For in-flight services, please contact your airline.
Getting to Seoul
AREX is a railway line that connects Incheon International Airport and Gimpo International Airport to downtown Seoul (Seoul Station). The express train will take passengers to and from Incheon International Airport and downtown Seoul in just over 40 minutes nonstop. All stations and trains are fully accessible. Every train has designated areas for wheelchairs.
Airport limousine buses conveniently drop off passengers at major hotels and locations throughout the city. However, most limousine buses are not fully accessible vehicles.
Taxis are the most expensive option but some travelers might find them more convenient to use.
Getting Around Seoul
Using the extensive subway network of Seoul is the most efficient way of getting around the city. Color-coded subways lines and multilingual signs and announcements help foreign travelers use the subway system with ease. Consistently voted one of the best subway systems in the world, the Seoul subway system is not only safe, clean, and easy to use, but has features in almost every station and train that improve accessibility and comfort for customers with visual, hearing, and mobility disabilities. These include the following:
- Wheelchair lifts and ramps
- Audio and visual information systems
- Braille tiles
- Accessible service entry gates at subway station
- Accessible transit card vending machines
- Platform gap modification to bridge gap between train and platform
- Platform screen doors
- Accessible restrooms
- Priority seating area in every car
* Accessible features may not be up-to-date in some smaller and older subway stations.
Nearly all of Seoul’s subway stations can be accessed by elevator. Most stations will have an elevator that goes from the street level down to the ticketing level. Taking another elevator at the ticketing level is usually required to get down to the platform. If an elevator on the platform/street level has transit card readers, this indicates that it will go all the way up or down. As many elevators have been retrofitted wherever they fit in the older stations, placement may not always be intuitive, but locations are clearly marked with signs. Locations of elevators at street level are usually not marked with signs, but the big glass boxes are fairly easy to spot from a distance.
* Some smaller and older stations have no or partial elevator access.
Wheelchair Access Gate
Most of the newer subway stations have entry gates without turnstiles, but many older stations will still have them. These older stations are equipped with wheelchair access gates. Simply scan your transit card on the sensor and be on your way.
For older stations without elevators, wheelchair lifts are available. Simply call for an attendant at the lift for assistance.
Every subway car has priority seating at each end for senior citizens and travelers with disabilities. Large green signs on the floor (pictured) indicate which subway cars on each train are accessible. Gaps between the platform and car are negligible and all accessible cars have spaces where wheelchairs and strollers can be parked.
Taxis in Korea are some of the world's cheapest and one of the most convenient ways to travel in the city. There are five types of taxis in Seoul: regular, international, deluxe, jumbo, and accessible. The type of taxi can usually be distinguished by its color. Taxis are a great way to travel shorter distances or to locations where accessible subway stations are not in the vicinity.
Wheelchair Accessible Call Taxis
Seoul boasts a fleet of wheelchair-accessible taxis for travelers traveling by wheelchair. Accessible taxis are yellow vans, equipped with a ramp or lift, and can accommodate one wheelchair and five passengers. Accessible taxis are only for foreigners traveling by wheelchair (as well as local residents with disabilities) and must be reserved in advance. Unfortunately, the demand for the service is currently much higher than the number of vehicles in the fleet, so expect to wait 30-60 minutes,on average, for pickup.
* As service of accessible taxis may be unreliable, it is not recommended to rely on accessible call vans as your primary mode of transportation.
There are a total of 487 wheelchair accessible call taxis in operation (as of 2016). Seoul’s wheelchair accessible fleet includes 241 vehicles equipped with a slope, 195 vehicles with a lift, 1 multi-passenger minivan, and 50 regular taxis.
Fares for wheelchair-accessible taxis are cheaper than for regular taxis and no extra service charge is added.
- KRW 1,500 for first 5 km
- KRW 300/km from 5-10 km
- KRW 35/km after 10 km
- * Toll fees paid separately
Hours 24 hours
Regular taxis are currently orange, white or gray. These are the most common taxis in the city and can easily be hailed from just about anywhere. Regular taxis are the cheapest, but service is not always the best.
International taxis are marked with an "International" sign. They are slightly more expensive than regular taxis, but drivers can speak basic English or another foreign language like Japanese or Chinese. International taxis are less common and must usually be called for in advance.
International Taxi Call Center +82-2-1644-2255
Deluxe taxis are black with a gold stripe along the side. They are more expensive than regular taxis but are considered safer and more comfortable to use; drivers must have maintained an accident-free driving record for ten years to become certified as deluxe taxi drivers. Deluxe taxis are harder to hail down than regular taxis and usually need to be called for in advance.
* Regular, international, and deluxe taxis may not be able to fit a wheelchair due to extra trunk space required by LPG gas tanks.
Also black, jumbo taxis are larger vans. Though they are not accessible vehicles, they are large enough to fit a wheelchair if needed. Jumbo taxis must usually be reserved or called for in advance.
Taxis can be rented for up to a day. Though prices are steeper, renting a single taxi for an allotted period can be a more convenient alternative to hailing or calling for multiple taxis. If you travel by wheelchair, it is recommended to rent a jumbo taxi as regular taxis may not be able to stow a wheelchair in the trunk.
* Accessible call taxis are not available for rental.
The public bus system is very well developed in Seoul and will take you to locations that aren’t conveniently located near subway stations. In 2004, 66 of all public buses in Seoul were low-floor buses. That number now stands at 2,874 buses (as of 2016). The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to increase this number to 100% by 2025. A low-floor bus is a bus with no steps between the entrance and exit of a bus, which improves accessibility for the elderly and passengers with impaired mobility. Ramps can be lowered and drivers help park and fasten wheelchairs in designated areas of the bus. All public buses have priority seating for the elderly and disabled.
* Due to limited operation of low-floor buses, it is advised to use taxis and subways whenever possible.
The take-away: The subway is the most economical and efficient mode of travel for longer distances, but it may not always be the best mode of travel for travelers with mobility disabilities. Be sure to always check the list of accessible features ( link here ) at your arrival, departure, and transfer stations. If you travel by wheelchair, it is advised to avoid stations where wheelchair lifts are the only option. Taxis are ideal for traveling shorter distances, or to locations without an accessible subway station close by. Regular taxis can be caught from most anywhere but may not be able to stow a wheelchair. If you plan on visiting several locations, renting a taxi, though more expensive, might be the most convenient option. Accessible calltaxis are convenient but might not always be a viable option due to the long wait time. Due to limited operation of low-floor buses and the lack of English signage at bus stops, buses are not recommended.
Hospitals and Emergency Numbers
In a medical emergency, dial 119 . The caller's location will automatically be detected and an interpreter will be connected to the call. Ambulance dispatch is fast and free. For all other medical information, dial 1339 (or 02-1339 from a mobile phone or from outside of Seoul). English-speaking doctors and medical representatives are available to provide medical assistance.
Incheon International Airport Medical Center
Languages ENG, JPN, CHN
Location Sinchon, Seoul
Seoul National University Hospital
Location Daehangno, Seoul
Emergency Care Center +82-2-2072-2473/2477