Uijeongbu Light Rail Transit (LRT) will open its driverless line to the public in Uijeongbu city north of Seoul, South Korea, on 1 July.
Once the 11.1km line becomes operational, it will be served by 15 stations that took five years to build and cost KRW547bn ($475m).
Out of the total cost, KRW297.4bn ($258.4m) came from the South Korean consortium led by GS Engineering & Construction, while the remaining KRW249.6bn ($216.9m) was received from taxes.
According to the South Korea’s National Assembly Research Service (NARS) the rubber-wheeled LRT system will cost Uijeongbu city’s taxpayers KRW10bn ($8.6m) a year over the next ten years.
Uijeongbu LRT vice president Lee Myung-se told AFP: "Unlike other LRTs, there will be enough demand as it passes through the most populated areas and carries commuters fast to a station where they can transfer to the main subway line linked to Seoul."
In November 2006, Siemens Transportation Systems (TS) won a €140m contract from Uijeongbu LRT to install a fully automatic Val metro system in Uijeongbu, South Korea.
The fully automatic light rail system is being built by six partners in a consortium within the framework of a turnkey project in Uijeongbu, around 20km to the north of Seoul, the south Korean capital.
Under the deal, Siemens had provided the automatic train control (ATC) system, the operations control centre, the depot and trackside equipment, as well as systems engineering and project management.
Siemens was also responsible for delivery of 15 two-unit Val 208 vehicles, which will have rubber tyres. They will operate on the Uijeongbu line, which is expected to transport up to 6,400 passengers an hour.
South Korea’s first LRT, a 24km line between Gimhae and Busan, opened in September 2011 on the south coast, which so far had carried an average 31,000 passengers a day, just 18% of what had been predicted by NARS.
NARS said that should the usage on the line not improve, it would face a KRW1.6tn ($1.39bn) bill over the next 20 years to compensate private investors, which built the project.