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Passmo

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Passmo

Postby keatonatron » Tue 03.20.2007 2:33 am

Transportation in Tokyo has just gotten better.

There are many different train lines in Tokyo, all owned by different companies: JR, Keikyu, Odakyu, various municipal subways, and more. Many of them offered card systems, but were split over which ones to use. JR used Suica, which is an electronic swipe card that you can charge up with money, and it automatically deducts the amount whenever you go through the turnstiles. All major non-JR lines offered Passnet, which is a paper card you buy in a specific amount (1000, 3000, 5000 yen) and when the card runs out you toss it. Then some train lines didn't use either, and you had to buy a ticket for the exact amount for each ride. Amounts differ by how far you are going, so this often involved checking the big map to see what price ticket you needed to buy, which also resulted in huge lines at the major stations during rush hour.

Recently, Passmo has taken over. It's a system exactly like Suica, except that ALL train lines (and even buses!) have been adapted to use it. Yesterday I went across Tokyo, transfering two times to ride on 3 completely unrelated train lines, and I was able to use my single card the whole way. And since it automatically deducts the fare, I didn't have to worry about how far I was going or stand in a line. If you haven't spent considerable time in the Tokyo train system, you might not understand how great of an achievement this is. Transfers are now quick, and I will never have to stand in line to buy a ticket again! And things will be much easier for tourists as well: some fare maps only have station names in Kanji, and some machines sell tickets for multiple train lines, which can be confusing if you're not sure of the name of "the orange line"-- both problems of the past!

There are two things I remember wanting very badly, and being so happy when they came out: Gameboy with a back lit screen, and one Suica card that works for all of Tokyo.
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RE: Passmo

Postby miha » Tue 03.20.2007 4:35 am

うんうん、そうですね。私も、一層、便利になったと喜んでいます。

それにしても、日本の鉄道、またはバス運賃は細かく分かれていますね。それを計算するコンピュータ・プログラムを作るのはたいへんだったと思います。
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RE: Passmo

Postby suhui » Tue 03.20.2007 5:55 am

Recently, Passmo has taken over. It's a system exactly like Suica, except that ALL train lines (and even buses!) have been adapted to use it. Yesterday I went across Tokyo, transfering two times to ride on 3 completely unrelated train lines, and I was able to use my single card the whole way. And since it automatically deducts the fare, I didn't have to worry about how far I was going or stand in a line. If you haven't spent considerable time in the Tokyo train system, you might not understand how great of an achievement this is. Transfers are now quick, and I will never have to stand in line to buy a ticket again! And things will be much easier for tourists as well: some fare maps only have station names in Kanji, and some machines sell tickets for multiple train lines, which can be confusing if you're not sure of the name of "the orange line"-- both problems of the past!


But transfering 2 times isn't it more expensive?
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RE: Passmo

Postby keatonatron » Tue 03.20.2007 6:51 am

suhui wrote:
But transfering 2 times isn't it more expensive?


Yes, but the first train line didn't go all the way to my destination. It would have cost the same on the old system, only now it's much faster and the confusion caused by trying to figure out which ticket to buy for which line has become a non-issue.
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RE: Passmo

Postby suhui » Tue 03.20.2007 10:00 am

Yes, but the first train line didn't go all the way to my destination. It would have cost the same on the old system, only now it's much faster and the confusion caused by trying to figure out which ticket to buy for which line has become a non-issue.


Cool, better accessibility is worth the cost then. :D
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RE: Passmo

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 03.20.2007 10:15 am

That's really nice!

However, I wonder how this will work with some rural stations -- in Tochigi there were some stations that had no ticket machines, only a metal box to put your used ticket in, and a little machine that gave you a slip of paper that you had to show at the office of your destination and pay there.
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RE: Passmo

Postby keatonatron » Tue 03.20.2007 11:42 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
However, I wonder how this will work with some rural stations -- in Tochigi there were some stations that had no ticket machines, only a metal box to put your used ticket in, and a little machine that gave you a slip of paper that you had to show at the office of your destination and pay there.


I've been to places like that before. The normal paper tickets will never disappear, but they now have a convenient (and less wasteful) alternative for those who ride the train a lot.
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RE: Passmo

Postby Mike Cash » Tue 03.20.2007 11:47 am

I sort of miss the days when guys with spastic carpal tunnel manned the wickets and punched your ticket manually.....back when JR was still JNR.
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RE: Passmo

Postby AJBryant » Tue 03.20.2007 1:16 pm

Does this completely eliminate the fine and ancient art of taking a "kiseru" train ride?

It used to be real easy; buy the one-two station distant train ticket and use it on the entrance, and when you get out WAY DOWN THE LINE show your train pass for that station. (Not that I ever did it, mind you, but I know how it worked.)


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RE: Passmo

Postby keatonatron » Tue 03.20.2007 1:33 pm

I thought about that... Let's say there are stations in order from 1 to 20. If you lived at 1 and worked at 19, and you had a friend who lived at 20 and worked at 2, you both could buy a 1-station ticket, meet somewhere along the line and trade tickets before exiting the system.

Although I have a new idea for the new system--I've noticed the guys who work at the station are usually pretty nice and if you ask them if you can run out real quick to just buy a soda they'll let you. So, swipe in at station 1, at station 2 swipe out but don't go through the gate, and at station 20 just tell him you really need to take a leak and you'll be right back.

Then don't come back :D
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RE: Passmo

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 03.20.2007 1:46 pm

It's nice to see that Tokyo has decided to do an all encompassing pass. that sure makes it conveniant on so many levels.

It's similar to the toll roads in the US getting the magnetic pay boxes where your car has a signal box and the booth has a receiver where you just drive through and it auto deletes the money from your account. (I hate toll roads and toll booths, but this does speed up the normal, stop the car, toss the change, hope it all makes it to the basket, wait for the bar to raise, etc go through, long lines of the standard toll area.
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RE: Passmo

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 03.20.2007 3:06 pm

You could also do that with the "machineless" locations -- buy the cheapest ticket possible, go to one of those machineless locations and throw it in the box, then pick up the ticket there and go to your real destination; depending on the distance you are travelling and the proximity of your destination to the machineless station, you could save $10-15 with that.
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RE: Passmo

Postby suhui » Thu 03.22.2007 11:46 am

I thought about that... Let's say there are stations in order from 1 to 20. If you lived at 1 and worked at 19, and you had a friend who lived at 20 and worked at 2, you both could buy a 1-station ticket, meet somewhere along the line and trade tickets before exiting the system.

Although I have a new idea for the new system--I've noticed the guys who work at the station are usually pretty nice and if you ask them if you can run out real quick to just buy a soda they'll let you. So, swipe in at station 1, at station 2 swipe out but don't go through the gate, and at station 20 just tell him you really need to take a leak and you'll be right back.

Then don't come back


Lol, I swear he will remember you soon.
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RE: Passmo

Postby Mukade » Thu 03.22.2007 12:38 pm

What's so great about Tokyo anyways....?!? :@
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RE: Passmo

Postby AJBryant » Thu 03.22.2007 1:20 pm

I sort of miss the days when guys with spastic carpal tunnel manned the wickets and punched your ticket manually.....back when JR was still JNR.


That sound (and sight) will always be one of my strongest memories of Japan (considering how ubiquitous it was, after all).

I miss it.

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