Riding with credit cards is welcome in Fukuoka – JR Kyushu increases area by 10 times

JR Kyushu, Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau and Nishi-Nippon Railroad, which have already introduced boarding services using contactless payments, have successively expanded the contents in order to further improve conveniencet, such as expanding the service area and discount measures.

JR Kyushu 811 series EMU mainly operated on the Kagoshima Line (ninochan555/photoAC)
JR Kyushu 811 series EMU mainly operated on the Kagoshima Line (ninochan555/photoAC)

Unlimited rides for the same price as a 1-day pass

Services that allow you to ride public transportation using credit cards with contactless payments function are widely used around the world, and are being introduced in Japan as well. The Fukuoka City Subway was the first to adopt the system in the Fukuoka area, and started demonstration tests at seven stations on May 31, 2022. Along with the opening of the Hakata Station extension on the Nanakuma Line, the number of target stations has been increased to 36 from March 27, 2023 (Mon), and the ready payment brands have also been expanded.

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After expanding to the entire station, it seems that the use continues growing by residents along the line during commuting hours and inbound tourists. The number of using contactless payments has expanded to more than seven times the average of last year, and the number of getting on/off cases per day is often increasing to more than 5,000.

From July 14 (Fri), the “World Aquatics Championships – Fukuoka 2023” will be held at four venues in Fukuoka City, including Marine Messe Fukuoka (Hakata Ward, Fukuoka City). Ahead of the big event where many visitors are expected, a new discount service for contactless payments has started on July 7 (Fri) on the subway.

This means that if you use the same card for multiple rides, the total bill for one day will be a maximum of 640 yen, and you will not have to pay for the portion exceeding 640 yen. This price is the same as the Subway 1 Day Pass, and it is the first railway service in Japan that saves you the trouble of completing procedures and purchasing in advance.

(See the chart below for details such as a map of JR Kyushu that support contactless payments, and new services for the Fukuoka City Subway and Nishitetsu Bus.)

[Chart] A map of JR Kyushu that support contactless payments, and new services for the Fukuoka City Subway and Nishitetsu Bus

Nishitetsu Bus equipped with contactless readers for the first time

Nishitetsu, which has been providing a touch payment boarding service at seven major stations on the Tenjin-Omuta Line since July 15, 2022, will be working on a demonstration experiment for the first time to enable riding with contactless payments even on fix-route buses. The target route is between Hakata Station and Fukuoka Airport International Terminal (excluding the Dazaifu Liner Bus “TABITO”), and from July 10 (Mon), you can use the international brand card just by holding it over the designated readers.

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Nishitetsu expects a further increase in the number of tourists from overseas, and is planning to introduce contactless payments on the articulated bus “Fukuoka BRT” by August, which mainly goes around Tenjin, Hakata Station and the waterfront area.

On the other hand, JR Kyushu has been conducting a demonstration experiment of the contactless payments service between Hakata and Kashii on the Kagoshima Line since July 22, 2022, but the number of target stations has been expanded from 5 to 50 stations.

From July 12 (Wed), contactless payments are available at all stations between Mojiko and Kurume on the Kagoshima Line and Uminonakamichi Station on the Kashii Line. There are variations of touch reading devices, such as those integrated with ticket gates and pole-type dedicated terminals. In either case, you can board the train simply by holding your card over them when entering or exiting the train.

Either operators have set the demonstration test period to the end of March 2024, and will continue to verify whether it contributes to improving convenience for passengers, including daily use and inbound tourists.

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