Transportation in DPRK
Highways in North Korea
North Korea’s highways. It is called highways but they are really bad. Bicycles and people can be seen on highways in North Korea. There are not a lot of highways in North Korea. The road from Pyongyang to Kaesong and the road from Pyongyang to Wonsan and other cities have highways. But if you get a chance to drive on north Korean highways, you’ll find that driving on North Korean highways is not as good as driving in downtown Pyongyang. The roads in downtown Pyongyang are smooth and there are not many cars. On the other hand, North Korea’s highways are full of potholes, It is really a testing not only your driving skills but also the quality of the cars. North Korea’s bumpy highways have no toll booths. Why there are no toll booths on north Korean highways? Through chatting with the tour guide and my guess, there are mainly the following aspects of no toll station on the North Korean highway:
1. Our guide said that according to their planned economy, tax was abolished long time ago. The government do not charge the tax not only the high-speed cars but also no tax for businesses or individuals.
2. There are also service areas on the expressway. Their service area is quite small only provide some snacks but no place to eat and no place to rest. The biggest disadvantage is that there is no gas station.
3. There are very few cars on north Korean highways. No more than 100 vehicles were seen on the way from Pyongyang to Kaesong. You see green cars once in a while. Sometimes not a car passes for more than ten minutes. It can be seen that even if the North installed toll booths on the highway it is estimated to receive not much money.
4. In addition, most cars in North Korea are owned by the state. The cars you see on north Korean highways are either green or public. There are many cars of enterprise units. Not a single private car was to be seen on the highway from Pyongyang to Kaesong. There is no need to charge cars because they are state-owned.
Transportation For Citizens
The number of cars in North Korea is very limited. Few people have private cars. In Pyongyang, however, people travel mostly on foot, by bicycles, or by buses, or trolleybuses and trams. During your traveling in Pyongyang you could always trolleybuses and trams full of local people. In North Korea, the bus fare is very cheap, which is only 1 to 20 cents in RMB. And the price of taking a taxi is very expensive. Taxi fares in Pyongyang starts from $2. Each additional 2 km costs 0.6USD and double price after 9 PM. So a taxi ride in North Korea costs about 5USD. An average worker in Pyongyang, North Korea, earns around 50USD. So taxis in North Korea are very expensive for normal citizen in Pyongyang.
There are few roads in North Korea. Most of the rural areas are unsurfaced road, asphalt roads are rarely seen in countryside. The city is also more gravel road, Driving above this kind of road is very bumpy. But Pyongyang roads are wide and smooth.
The design of Pyongyang subway is quite similar to the Moscow subway in Russia, the Kiev subway in Ukraine and Tashkent subway in Uzbekistan. Pyongyang subway has 17 stations on two main lines, and each station is decorated in a different style. Pyongyang subway is reputed to be the deepest in the world at about 150 meters underground, equivalent to the height of a 40-story building. It takes about three minutes by escalator from the station entrance to the subway platform. Pyongyang’s public transport mainly consists of buses, trams and subways.The subway is one of the most important transportation for Pyongyang citizens. An average of half a million Pyongyang residents take the subway every day, but no matter how crowded at rush hour, People are orderly and never loud. Here you can get 0 close to the locals and really get a feel for ordinary Life in Pyongyang. One thing you can’t miss if you visit Pyongyang is the Pyongyang Metro.