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Old September 15th, 2010, 09:36 AM   #1641
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Sapporo City tries experiment using subway for package delivery
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/hok...OYT8T00634.htm

Quote:
A field trial involving the transport of express home delivery packages via the subway—the first experiment of its kind in Japan—began in Sapporo City on September 2. By switching transport of packages from trucks to subway trains, the trial hopes to not only reduce carbon dioxide emissions but also help alleviate traffic congestion. The trial will evaluate impacts to passengers and the safety and cost of the program, aiming for a permanent implementation after next fiscal year.

The trial is being carried out jointly by Yamato Transport Co.; the Research Society for New Urban Goods Distribution Systems formed of university professors; and Sapporo City. On a total of three trains daily between Ōdōri and Shin-Sapporo Stations on the Tōzai Municipal Subway Line during the midday period (when passenger demand is low), a single team of two delivery workers will load items into special boxes (50 cm wide, 70 cm deep, and 90 cm tall) placed onto carts, and position them in the wheelchair spaces on Car 2 and Car 6 of the seven-car train. When wheelchair passengers board, the workers will quickly disembark and take the following train, and will take other measures not to intrude on other passengers.

The first package on the first day of the experiment departed Ōdōri Station a little after 10:30 am and was successfully transported without incident.

Yamato Transport currently has four-ton trucks running back and forth between its delivery centers near Ōdōri Station and Shin-Sapporo Station. The company says that the volume of packages being transported in this experiment is equivalent to two or three trucks-worth of packages a day. The trial will last until September 15 and will be conducted again in the winter season.

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Old September 15th, 2010, 09:42 AM   #1642
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Largest obstacle to Sapporo streetcar extension is funding
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/hok...OYT8T00232.htm

Quote:
Sapporo City has strengthened its efforts towards extending the city streetcar network, citing streetcars’ effective role in reducing environmental impacts and in providing an easy-to-use means of transport for the elderly as the main reasons behind its campaign. However, the new investment required as part of the extension is expected to exceed ¥5 billion, and skeptical voices still remain strong among the general public.

Serious discussions begin
11:45 pm on August 6. The last streetcar trip of the evening departs from the Susukino stop. Only 21 passengers were inside a streetcar with a capacity for 100, but employees of the city’s Streetcar Office say it’s a “decent figure considering it’s during a time period when the streetcars don’t typically run.”

From July 23 to September 10, the city pushed back the normal schedule for the last train on Fridays by as much as 35 minutes, running a total of four extra trips. The city then hands out questionnaires to passengers to ask for their feedback on whether the later service is needed. Spokespersons for the City Transportation Bureau say, “We want to use this as a resource in considering expansion of our service hours in preparation for the possible expansion.”

In March of this year, the city drafted a City Streetcar Re-Use Policy, revealing candidate areas for possible streetcar extension and initiating concrete debate over the issue.

The three candidate areas selected are central Sapporo, centered around JR Sapporo Station; east of the Sōsei River, where condominiums and other redevelopment projects are underway; and the Sōen area, home to the Sapporo City General Hospital and large shopping centers. After preliminary estimates of ridership and revenues against expenses for each of the proposed extensions alone and in combination, the city will determine the feasibility of the extensions and devise specific alignments.

From abandonment to active reuse
In regards to the city’s streetcars, a complete abandonment of the system has been rumored countless times because of ridership decline, but the tides turned when Mayor Ueda Fumio was elected to office in 2003. At a February 2005 press conference, Mayor Ueda announced the preservation of the city’s streetcars, citing a survey of 10,000 citizens that revealed the majority of the public wanted to retain the streetcars and the fact that, compared to other transport modes such as bus and taxi, the streetcars had fewer carbon dioxide emissions.

In addition, in his second term as mayor, Ueda advertised a campaign promise of “using the streetcars to increase the attractiveness of the city’s urban areas,” initiating a policy change towards extension.

Arakawa Shōji (66), spokesperson for a citizen’s group that has been calling for preservation of the city’s streetcars for over 20 years and is now conducting a signature-gathering effort to push for the extension, is pleased: “Streetcars are designed with both the user and the environment in mind, and are being looked at again both within and outside of Japan. In the future, I’d even like them to extend the network out into the suburbs.”

On August 24, the city will invite officials from Toyama City, which has introduced a light rail transit (LRT) system as part of revitalizing neighborhoods, and host a forum. Starting in October, the city will hold a special conference to consider the project featuring a randomly-selected sample of citizens, in the hope of bringing energy into the debate over the extension.

Construction costs of around ¥5 billion
However, the hurdles standing in the way of extension remain high, the largest being financing. According to preliminary cost estimates by the city, the cost of track construction into each of the three areas ranges from ¥4.8 billion to ¥5.6 billion. In addition, an investment of at least ¥5.8 billion is needed by FY2011 to cover replacement of aging trains and other costs.

Furthermore, even if a ridership increase can be expected with the extension, it alone won’t be enough to resolve a system that is operating at a deficit. Only after both reducing expenses by 10 to 15 percent and increasing fares by a similar percentage will the system finally break even or begin generating surpluses.

And there are even some who question the fidelity of these projections.

At the June session of the City Council’s Citizens’ Committee on Municipal Finance, members debated a petition submitted by a man from Atsubetsu Ward calling for an end to the plans to extend the city’s streetcar system. The man points to the city’s budget problems and declining ridership on the subway network, claiming, “It’s impossible for the extension to increase ridership. This plan will leave a financial burden for the future and threaten Sapporo’s economy.”

The Sapporo Taxi Association is also concerned about roadway congestion generated by the extension and the effects of the extension on taxi patronage, refusing to yield on its cautious stance on the plan. Managing director of the association Terui Kōichi wants a clearer vision from the city: “I want the city to clearly state their line of thinking on how the extension will lead to revitalization of Sapporo as a whole.”

25 km at its peak, now only 8.5 km
At its peak in 1964, the city’s streetcar network stretched across 25 km, reaching an average daily ridership of 278,000 passengers. Streetcar lines crisscrossed the city, serving all of the areas currently being considered for the extension—central Sapporo, areas east of the Sōsei River, and the Sōen area.

However, in 1971, a year before the Winter Olympics in Sapporo, the Namboku Subway Line opened and competing streetcar lines were approved for closure. The growth of a car-based society also contributed, and after 1974, the network has consisted of a single line, 8.5 km long. Average daily ridership dropped below 30,000 passengers in 1984 and for over a decade now has been struggling at between 20,000 and 25,000 passengers.

A streetcar running on a trial extended schedule departs Susukino (August 6, 11:30 pm, Chūō Ward, Sapporo City).




Source: Yomiuri Shimbun
In the the map of the candidate areas for extension (not to be confused with the subway lines shown):
Green is Sōen area
Red is central Sapporo
Blue is area east of the Sōsei River
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Old September 15th, 2010, 09:44 AM   #1643
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New Ishioka City / Omitama City BRT enters service
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/kant...0248000-n1.htm

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The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first publicly-constructed, privately-operated bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Japan, which converts the right-of-way of the former Kashima Railway abandoned in 2007, was held on August 29 at Ishioka Station Park outside JR Ishioka Station. The BRT line will open for regular service on August 30.

At the ceremony festivities, Ishioka City mayor Kubota Ken’ichirō commented, “With their on-time performance and environmental considerations, these buses will be a model for the future of public transport.” Omitama City mayor Shimada Jōichi also greeted the crowd: “I hope Ishioka City and Omitama City can work together to get as many people as possible to use the bus service.”

Officials gathered at the ceremony to pray for safe operations of the new bus service, cutting the ribbon tape and breaking kusudama to celebrate the opening.

The bus-only right-of-way stretches between Ishioka Station and Shikamura Station (5.1 km) on the right-of-way of the former Kashima Railway. Afterwards, the buses travel in mixed flow on regular streets in the direction of Hokota Station.

Through use of the bus-only right-of-way, the journey time between Ishioka Station and Ogawa Station is reduced from the current 25-35 minutes to 20 minutes. In addition, through the introduction of a bus locator system, users can confirm the status of the bus service using PCs or mobile phones.

The new service increases the number of bus trips substantially, with 122 departures from Ishioka Station, and during the morning rush, buses will depart approximately every ten minutes. Twelve buses a day will operate to Ibaraki Airport, but with Skymark Airlines indicating its intention to launch regular flights to Sapporo (Shin-Chitose) and Nagoya (Chūbu International) this fiscal year, plans to increase the number of buses are under consideration.

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Old September 15th, 2010, 09:46 AM   #1644
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Chōshi Electric Railway debuts ex-Keiō, ex-Iyo Railway cars
http://mytown.asahi.com/areanews/chi...007240404.html

Quote:
On July 24, Chōshi Electric Railway began operating “new” trainsets that reuse cars first introduced by a Tōkyō Prefecture private railway close to 50 years ago, replacing three aging cars in its fleet. Approx. 100 people participated in the commemorative ceremony held at Inubō Station, and with the arrival of a new train at the station a little past 11:20 am, headed inbound for Chōshi, many railfans boarded the train to take photographs.

The two new trains (four cars total) were first introduced by Keiō Electric Railway in 1962, and were sold to Iyo Railway 25 years ago. In November of last year, the cars were transported to Chōshi Harbor by boat, and the railway had been proceeding with maintenance checks and upgrades to the cars and platform extensions at its stations in the hope of putting them into revenue service by the end of the year.

However, the railway failed to get approval from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), and the new trains ended up making their debut over half a year after the original schedule. Chōshi Electric Railway president Ogawa Fumio greeted the crowd, saying, “We’ve become a car-based society, and our ridership has declined to less than half of what it was during the heydays, but I hope to continue our efforts to safely transport our passengers.” Chōshi Tourist Association chairman Sakamoto Masanobu—who previously served as vice-representative of the Chōshi Electric Railway Supporters, formed during the railway’s financial crises three years ago—also had his own words for the audience: “Let’s do our best to continue supporting Chōshi Electric Railway.”
Chōshi Electric Railway is a very lowkey operation, and their fleet consists entirely of hand-me-downs from other operators, including Eidan (predecessor to Tōkyō Metro) and Iyo Railway. They became well-known several years ago after they began selling rice crackers (senbei) to stay afloat. Probably, it’s a dedicated staff and a steady flow of railfans that keep the operation running.

The “new” Chōshi Electric Railway 2000 series trains in action. The video also has plenty of regular scenes of the railway, which is located on Inubō Cape in far-eastern Chiba Prefecture. The 700 series and 800 series trains in this video are the aging cars that will be retired.


Source: karibajct on YouTube
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Old September 15th, 2010, 09:50 AM   #1645
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Circle K and Sunkus stores to begin accepting Kitaca, ICOCA, and SUGOCA cards
http://www.westjr.co.jp/news/newslis...74928_799.html

Quote:
Circle K Sunkus Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi UFJ NICOS Co., Ltd., together with Hokkaidō Railway Company, West Japan Railway Company, and Kyūshū Railway Company, will launch a new service starting in late September 2010 whereby Circle K and Sunkus stores in the Hokkaidō, Kansai, Chūgoku, and Kyūshū regions will begin accepting the electronic money services managed by each of the respective participating railway companies.

Stores will be accepting Hokkaido Railway Company’s (JR Hokkaidō) Kitaca card in the Hokkaidō area, West Japan Railway Company’s (JR West) ICOCA card in the Kansai and Chūgoku areas, and Kyūshū Railway Company’s (JR Kyūshū) SUGOCA card in the Kyūshū area, improving convenience for our customers.

In addition, we will launch a service whereby customers who are enrolled in Circle K Sunkus’ Karuwaza Club membership club can enroll their Kitaca, ICOCA, or SUGOCA card ID number to receive Karu Points when making payments using their card’s electronic money.

In accordance with the business agreement by Mitsubishi UFJ NICOS with the three JR companies regarding expansion of the affiliated store network, Mitsubishi UFJ NICOS will be responsible for payment settlement for the three electronic money systems.

Details
Starting in late September 2010, customers will be able to use transport-based electronic money systems at Circle K and Sunkus stores (approx. 1,300 stores) in the Hokkaidō, Kansai, Chūgoku, and Kyūshū regions.
  • In the Hokkaidō area: Kitaca
  • In the Kansai and Chūgoku areas: ICOCA
  • In the Kyūshū area: SUGOCA
Customers will earn Karu Points when shopping at Circle K and Sunkus stores using a Kitaca, ICOCA, or SUGOCA card.

Regarding introduction of transport-based electronic money at Circle K and Sunkus stores
  • Kitaca
    • Stores affected: All Sunkus stores in JR Hokkaidō’s service area—all Sunkus stores in Hokkaidō (194 stores total)
    • Service details: Payment using a Kitaca card and recharging of a Kitaca card (Note: Customers may also pay with a Suica card and recharge a Suica card)
  • ICOCA
    • Stores affected: All Circle K and Sunkus stores in JR West’s service area—all Circle K and Sunkus stores in Shiga Prefecture, Kyōto Prefecture, Hyōgo Prefecture, Ōsaka Prefecture, Nara Prefecture, Wakayama Prefecture, and Okayama Prefecture, and all Sunkus stores in Hiroshima Prefecture (1,077 stores total)
    • Service details: Payment using an ICOCA card and recharging of an ICOCA card (Note: Customers may also pay with a Suica or TOICA card and recharge a Suica or TOICA card)
  • SUGOCA
    • Stores affected: All Sunkus stores in JR Kyūshū’s service area—all Sunkus stores in Fukuoka Prefecture and a portion of Sunkus stores in Kumamoto Prefecture and Kagoshima Prefecture (22 stores total out of 125 stores in the entire area)
    • Service details: Payment using a SUGOCA card and recharging of a SUGOCA card (Note: Customers may also pay with a Suica, nimoca, or Hayakaken card and recharge a Suica, nimoca, or Hayakaken card)
Circle K and Sunkus stores in JR East’s service area (approx. 2,100 stores total) already began accepting Suica on July 14.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 09:53 AM   #1646
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7-11 stores nationwide to accept IC farecards for payment by next spring
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2010/20100805.pdf

Quote:
Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd. member company Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd., together with Hokkaidō Railway Company (JR Hokkaidō), East Japan Railway Company (JR East), Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), West Japan Railway Company (JR West), Kyūshū Railway Company (JR Kyūshū), and Kehin Electric Express Railway (Keikyū), have agreed to introduce the various railway companies’ electronic money services to 7-11 stores in each of the respective areas by spring 2011.

Through this effort, starting next spring, payment by and recharging of transport-based electronic money will be possible at all 12,825 7-11 stores (as of July 2010) across Japan.

At 7-11, in addition to developing our own proprietary nanaco electronic money system, we accept payment by multiple other electronic money systems. In this latest effort, through the introduction of transport-based electronic money systems—which allow for railway use, but have also spread across Japan, developing strongholds in each of their home regions—we hope to further increase use of electronic money at 7-11.

At each of the participating railway companies, through 7-11’s store network and customer base, we believe this project will contribute to further increasing convenience for users of transport-based electronic money.

JR Hokkaidō
  • 7-11 service areas: Hokkaidō
  • Total stores (as of end of July 2010): approx. 800
  • Accepted electronic money systems as of next spring: Kitaca, Suica
JR East
  • 7-11 service areas: Iwate, Yamagata, Miyagi, Fukushima, Tochiga, Ibaraki, Chiba, Saitama, Tōkyō, Kanagawa, Gunma, Niigata, Nagano, Yamanashi (excepting a portion of stores in Tōkyō and Kanagawa)
  • Total stores (as of end of July 2010): approx. 6,900
    Accepted electronic money systems as of next spring: Suica, Kitaca, PASMO, TOICA, ICOCA, SUGOCA, nimoca, Hayakaken
Keikyū
  • 7-11 service areas: Some stores in Tōkyō and Kanagawa
  • Total stores (as of end of July 2010): approx. 300
  • Accepted electronic money systems as of next spring: PASMO, Suica
JR Central
  • 7-11 service areas: Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, Mie
  • Total stores (as of end of July 2010): approx. 1,100
  • Accepted electronic money systems as of next spring: TOICA, Suica, ICOCA, PASMO
JR West
  • 7-11 service areas: Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Shiga, Kyōto, Ōsaka, Hyōgo, Nara, Wakayama, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi
  • Total stores (as of end of July 2010): approx. 2,300
  • Accepted electronic money systems as of next spring: ICOCA, Suica, TOICA, SUGOCA
JR Kyūshū
  • 7-11 service areas: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Ōita, Miyazaki
  • Total stores (as of end of July 2010): approx. 1,300
  • Accepted electronic money systems as of next spring: SUGOCA, Suica, nimoca, Hayakaken, TOICA, ICOCA
Note: SUGOCA and TOICA / ICOCA are scheduled to launch interoperability starting next spring.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 09:54 AM   #1647
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TOICA and SUGOCA to launch interoperability in spring 2011
http://jr-central.co.jp/news/release/_pdf/000008821.pdf

Quote:
Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) and Kyūshū Railway Company (JR Kyūshū) have agreed to launch interoperability between JR Central’s TOICA and JR Kyūshū’s SUGOCA card systems in spring 2011.
  • With either a TOICA or SUGOCA card, passengers will be able to conveniently use the card within the IC card service areas of both card systems.
  • At the Shinkansen transfer gates at Hakata Station and Kokura Station, passengers will be able to pass through the faregates by holding either a TOICA or SUGOCA IC farecard together with either an EX-IC Service card or a Shinkansen ticket.
    As a result, travel between Greater Tōkyō, the Tōkai region, the Kinki region, the Okayama / Hiroshima region, and the Kita- Kyūshū / Fukuoka region will be vastly more convenient.
  • In regards to the electronic money services, passengers with either a TOICA or SUGOCA card will be able to conveniently shop at stores affiliated with either of the electronic money systems.
Note: The exact date for the start of service, as well as the full details of the service, will be released as they are determined.

Notes
  • There are approx. 970,000 TOICA cards in circulation, and TOICA can be used at a total of 148 stations (as of end of July 2010).
  • There are approx. 380,000 SUGOCA cards in circulation, and SUGOCA can be used at a total of 146 stations (as of end of July 2010).
  • EX-IC Service is a membership-based ticketless service for the Tōkaidō / San’yō Shinkansen. In order to use the service, passengers must join Express Reservations (Annual membership fee: ¥1,050; Membership requires a credit report).
  • SUGOCA and West Japan Railway Company’s (JR West) ICOCA card will also launch interoperability in spring 2011.
  • There are approx. 1,700 TOICA-affiliated stores and approx. 5,600 SUGOCA-affiliated stores (as of end of July 2010).
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Old September 15th, 2010, 09:57 AM   #1648
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TOICA and manaca to launch interoperability in spring 2012
http://mainichi.jp/chubu/news/201008...20002000c.html

Quote:
534 stations in the Tōkai region, 1 card
Kintetsu’s PiTaPa is the last remaining “wildcard”


Interoperability between the manaca IC farecard planned for rollout by Meitetsu and the Trasportation Bureau of the City of Nagoya, and JR Central’s TOICA will launch in spring 2012. A total of 534 stations in the Tōkai region will be accessible with a single IC farecard, vastly improving passenger convenience. For railway operators, there is also hope that revenues will increase through the use of electronic money. However, no decision has been made on interoperability with the PiTaPa system used by Kintetsu, which has transfer gates with both Meitetsu and JR Central, leaving a major issue yet unresolved.

Together with the launch of interoperability between manaca and TOICA, passengers will be able to combine joint commuter passes into one card. Furthermore, interoperability between manaca and JR East’s Suica card is scheduled to begin in spring 2013, allowing manaca cardholders to use their card in the Greater Tōkyō area. At the same time, the electronic money systems for all three cards (manaca, Suica, and TOICA) will become interoperable, allowing cardholders to shop at stores affiliated with any one of the systems.

Meanwhile, in regards to interoperability with PiTaPa, JR Central says the ball is in “their court.” Meitetsu also says that “there is demand from passengers for interoperability,” but doesn’t go much further, recognizing that the issue is “still under consideration.” Kintetsu itself also explains, “It’s up for the committee to decide. It’s not something that we can proceed with on our own.”

The “committee” in question is the Surutto KANSAI Committee, which manages the PiTaPa system. A total of 39 transit operators centered around Kansai area private railways are affiliated with PiTaPa. In regards to interoperability with manaca and TOICA, the committee explains, “We will decide on action after considering both the merits and demerits. However, there’s no guaranteeing we will make a decision in time (to coincide with the launch of interoperability between TOICA and manaca).” In order to make interoperability possible, infrastructure investment including upgrades to faregate equipment are needed, and maintenance costs also increase. While interoperability with TOICA and manaca will lead to improved passenger convenience for Kintetsu, it’s unclear which side the other affiliated operators will take.

JR Central has transfer gates with Kintetsu at six stations including Nagoya, Kuwana, and Matsusaka, while Meitetsu has transfer gates with Kintetsu at Nagoya Station. One man (58) who takes a Kintetsu train from Kawagoe Town in Mie Prefecture and transfers to Meitetsu to reach his office in Naka Ward, Nagoya City is eager to see implementation of interoperability with Kintetsu and the PiTaPa system: “I have to buy two commuter passes, one at a Kintetsu station and another at a Meitetsu station. When one of the passes is expired, I can’t transfer, so I have to make sure that both passes are effective for the same period… It’s a real pain.”

PiTaPa is also considering interoperability with PASMO, which features 102 affiliated transit operators in the Greater Tōkyō area including 26 private railways, but nothing firm has been decided. Perhaps we can say that the various JR companies are generally active in interoperability because they operate Shinkansen lines that span the service areas of multiple companies, but private railways are less optimistic.

TOICA (JR Central)
Circulation: 970,000 cards
Accepting stations: 148
Stores accepting electronic money: approx. 1,700

manaca (Meitetsu, etc.)
Circulation: --
Accepting stations: 386
Stores accepting electronic money: --

Suica (JR East)
Circulation: 33.10 million cards
Accepting stations: 809
Stores accepting electronic money: approx. 71,000

============

Details about manaca
An IC farecard to be introduced by six operators—Meitetsu, Meitetsu Bus, the Transportation Bureau of the City of Nagoya (Municipal Subway, Municipal Bus), Nagoya Waterfront Rapid Railway (Aonami Line), Nagoya Guideway Bus (Yutorīto Line), and Toyohashi Railroad—with rollout in February 2011. The cards will be a prepaid system that requires passengers to charge the card with value beforehand. Passengers will be able to pass through faregates by touching the cards to the reader. The card will also feature electronic money functionality. Meitetsu, the City of Nagoya’s Transportation Bureau, and others have been offering interoperable Tranpass magnetic cards since 2003, and have been considering introduction of an IC farecard system. The cost of investment for conversion to IC cards is ¥10 billion for Meitetsu and ¥13.7 billion for Nagoya City. JR Central also says that first-phase expenses for interoperability will cost the railway ¥900 million.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:00 AM   #1649
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Timeline for Suica, manaca, TOICA interoperability finalized
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2010/20100804.pdf

Quote:
In regards to interoperability between the Suica card of East Japan Railway Company; the TOICA card of Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central); and the manaca card of the City of Nagoya Transportation Bureau, Nagoya Railroad Co., Ltd. (Meitetsu), et al., which was announced on June 11, 2009 as being under consideration, it has been decided to launch the service starting in FY2012.

By spring FY2012
  • Interoperability of TOICA and manaca farecard functions and issuance of IC-based coordinated commuter passes
By spring FY2013
  • Interoperability of Suica and manaca farecard functions
  • Interoperability of Suica, TOICA, and manaca electronic money functions

Notes:
Interoperability of farecard functions permits automatic fare collection at faregates and other equipment, as well as recharging at ticket vending machines across all operators.
Interoperability of electronic money functions permits payment via electronic money at stores affiliated with any of the card networks.
Issuance of IC-based coordinated commuter passes permits the addition of coordinated commuter passes across JR Central and manaca-affiliated operators onto TOICA and manaca cards.

Please look forward to an interoperability service that will vastly improve convenience for customers using railways and buses in the Nagoya region; customers going on leisure journeys between the Nagoya region and Greater Tōkyō; and customers shopping at stores affiliated with any of the electronic money services managed by the various transport operators.
My head is spinning now... Lots of news on nationwide IC farecard interoperability to pop up in the last few weeks.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:02 AM   #1650
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Mitsubishi Electric develops new platform surveillance technology for curved platforms
http://robonable.typepad.jp/news/201...itsubishi.html

Quote:
Mitsubishi Electric has completed its Panorama ITV station platform surveillance system for passenger safety when boarding and alighting trains. The system takes footage from two surveillance cameras and synthesizes them in realtime into a single video by cropping out unnecessary content. The synthesized footage is then displayed on a monitor. The system streamlines the visual inspection process for conductors and station staff on platforms with large curves or at other locations, allowing for a reduction in the number of display units without compromising safety. In addition to promoting the system to railway operators, Mitsubishi Electric will now aim to expand the market for the technology outside of train stations.

In accordance with conditions set using an exclusive software program, the system automatically edits the footage, including cropping the footage, setting transparency levels, and enlargement, reduction, or rotation of the footage. Because the system can process analog input footage within 0.1 seconds, the display speed is equivalent to existing surveillance cameras. Current surveillance systems only display camera footage independently, using separate displays, resulting in display of unwanted areas. By editing the content before displaying it, conductors need not adjust their line of sight as frequently when doing visual checks, increasing visual recognition.

The system also allows for checking of the surveillance footage beforehand using CG models of the the train and passengers, and automatically determines the optimum camera placement and number of units. The properties settings for the synthesized footage are also designed for manipulation, allowing users to change the platform layout and other elements.

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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:03 AM   #1651
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Latest issue of Japan Railway & Transport Review (JRTR)

Vol. 55 (March 2010)
  • Relationships between Railways and Tourism
  • Trains Carrying Something Special: Private Railways and Tourism Transport around Tokyo
  • Short Introduction to Sagano Scenic Railway
  • Fuji Kyuko and Tourism in Mt Fuji Area
  • Electric Trains and Japanese Technology
  • Train Culture: The Sociology of Tracks
  • Photostory: Access to Tokyo’s Airports
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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:06 AM   #1652
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New public passage opened at Ebina Station
http://news.kanaloco.jp/localnews/article/1008200035/

Quote:
The station building public passage at Ebina Station on the Odakyū Line and Sōtetsu Line was completed on August 20, and a special commemorative ceremony was held. The ceremony celebrated the opening of the passage and featured a tape-cutting and a performance by the Ebina City Ebina Middle School Wind Ensemble.

The public passage is 12 m wide and 88 m long. Ten stores including restaurants and other shops opened for business, and the first railway police force in Japan for a private railway was also established.

At the ceremony, Ebina City mayor Uchino Masaru remarked, “This project plays a pioneering role in a unified urban development across both the east and west sides of Ebina Station. I hope we can take this as a stepping stone to the next big thing.” Kanagawa Prefecture governor Matsuzawa Shigefumi, who was invited to speak at the ceremony, offered his congratulations: “Ebina is making splendid progress.”

The station building public passage broke ground four-and-a-half years ago after Ebina City signed an execution agreement with Odakyū Electric Railway and Sagami Railway (Sōtetsu). As most of the work was carried out after the last train and before the first train each day, the construction timeline was stretched over a long period. Ebina City and others made major revisions to the project plans, including narrowing the width of the passage, reducing the project cost from the original estimate of ¥12.9 billion to ¥9.2 billion.
A few snaps from opening day. The public passage made its debut, along with the new station retail, which has been branded an Odakyū Marche.
Source: http://blog.livedoor.jp/sunting1/

The railway suits and local politicians giving their speeches.







The small restaurant section has three restaurants—a tuna place, a soba noodle house, and a Yoshinoya.





Mini convenience store, Azur. Most of the ten stores are outside the paid area are located along the sides of the public passage, but two of the shops—a drink bar and a (surprise, surprise!) soba noodle house (in fact, the same chain as the other store)—are inside the Odakyū faregates.



Odakyū Florist store and Bank of Yokohama branch.

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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:08 AM   #1653
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Local governments urge for Sagami Line double-tracking
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20...00035-kana-l14

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On July 29, the Alliance for Double-Tracking of the Sagami Line (Chairman: Sagamihara City mayor Kayama Toshio), composed of jurisdictions along the JR Sagami Line who are calling for double-tracking of the line, inaugurated their FY2010 general meeting at the Keyaki Kaikan assembly hall in Fujimi, Chūō Ward, Sagamihara City. Attendees agreed to work towards an expedient double-tracking and submit a petition to JR East and the National Government

The general meeting was attended by mayors from Sagamihara, Ebina, Zama, and Chigasaki Cities and Samukawa Town. Chairman Kayama called upon his colleagues: “There is growing anticipation of the benefits of double-tracking the Sagami Line. I hope we can channel our efforts into awareness movements and lobbying the railway operators, in order to achieve our goal as quickly as possible.”

The petition identifies progress being made in efforts to secure new stations on the Chūō Shinkansen maglev and Tōkaidō Shinkansen, and calls for expedient double-tracking of the Sagami Line as the north-south transport axis that links these new stations.

The Sagami Line stretches approx. 33 km between Chigasaki and Hashimoto, and is completely single-track. Jurisdictions along the line are hoping that double-tracking of the line will increase capacity.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:14 AM   #1654
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Odakyū ordered to reduce noise levels and compensate residents for damages
http://mainichi.jp/select/today/news...40028000c.html

Quote:
In the lawsuit filed by 118 residents living along the Odakyū Line in Setagaya Ward, Tōkyō against Odakyū Electric Railway (HQ: Shinjuku Ward, Tōkyō) claiming that the railway owed them compensation to a total of approx. ¥784 million for degrading the quality of their living environment by generating noise and vibration, the Tōkyō District Court released its decision on August 31, ordering the railway to pay a total of ¥11.52 million to 42 of the victims. Judge Murakami Masatoshi remarked, “The victims were subjected to noise above tolerable limits, hindering their ability to hold conversations, watch television, or sleep, and causing mental anguish.”

The plaintiffs’ demanded that noise generated by the line between Higashi-Kitazawa and Kitami Stations be restricted to an average of 60 dB during the midday and 50 dB during the evening and that the railway pay each victim ¥30,000 for each month going as far back as 1988.

Unlike Shinkansen trains and aircraft, there is no national standard regarding noise generated by conventional railways, but in 1995, the former Environment Agency established guidelines (average of 60 dB during the midday and 55 dB during the evening) targeting newly-constructed train lines. The decision in the latest case claims that, based on these guidelines, and considering the number of trains operating on the Odakyū Line and current technological capabilities, “it should be possible to limit the sound levels to 65 dB during the midday and 60 dB during the evening,. If these levels aren’t achieved, a finding of noncompliance with the law cannot be avoided.”

In the Odakyū Line noise issue, in 1998 the National Government’s Environmental Dispute Coordination Commission ruled that outdoor noise levels over an average of 70 dB were damaging to quality of life, but residents who were dissatisfied with this decision filed a lawsuit in 1998-1999. The trial was unusually long, partly due to time expended by the plaintiffs in making their case.

A portion of the victims agreed to a settlement in 2004 with the condition that “Odakyū limits daily average noise levels to a maximum of 65 dB and pays ¥42 million to residents.”

In another lawsuit by residents calling for the national government to rescind the railway’s license to operate, the plaintiffs lost the case, but the 2005 ruling by the Grand Bench of the Supreme Court recognized the right of residents other than landowners to file a lawsuit over the noise levels.

“An incredibly disappointing decision”
Odakyū Electric Railway’s stance: “Considering that similar litigation was successfully resolved through settlement with residents, we have been working towards a resolution to the lawsuit primarily through discussions with the plaintiffs. The decision is incredibly disappointing and regrettable. We will determine our response after thoroughly analyzing the content of the ruling.”

Notes: Odakyū Line Quadruple-Tracking Project
The project involves double-tracking each of the inbound and outbound directions of the line, with the goal of alleviating congestion inside trains and reducing travel times. The project is being implemented jointly with the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government’s “continuous grade-separation project” to grade-separate the track from crossings, with the goal of eliminating traffic congestion. The project scope covers approx. 10.4 km from Higashi-Kitazawa (Setagaya Ward) to Izumi Tamagawa (Komae City). Construction began in 1989, and elevation work between Umegaoka (Setagaya Ward) and Izumi Tamagawa was completed in November 2004. Work to underground the remaining approx. 1.6 km section between Higashi-Kitazawa and Setagaya Daita is currently underway, with completion scheduled in FY2013.

Editorial: Possible impact to railway operators’ strategies
In the lawsuit regarding noise levels on the Odakyū Line, the August 31 ruling by the Tōkyō District Court delineated tolerable noise levels as an average of 65 dB during the midday and 60 dB during the evening and ordered Odakyū Electric Railway (HQ: Shinjuku Ward, Tōkyō) to compensate 42 of the 118 plaintiffs to a total of approx. ¥11.52 million. Under the current situation where there are no environmental standards regarding noise generated by conventional train lines, the ruling identifies a specific noise level and points out that “failure to meet these noise levels is illegal,” possibly affecting railway operators’ noise strategies, primarily in major metropolitan areas.

In regards to noise generated by Shinkansen trains and aircraft, the national government has established specific environmental standards. For conventional train lines, however, there can be a startling difference in number of trains in operation and the trackside environment when comparing one area to another, which the Ministry of the Environment says “makes crafting a uniform standard difficult.”

As a result, in lawsuits and disputes over noise from conventional train lines, the guidelines established in a 1995 ruling by the former Environment Agency targeting newly-constructed train lines have been used as a yardstick. One of the cases to do so concerned noise and vibration impacts along the Keisei Line, in which the Tōkyō High Court ordered Keisei Electric Railway to compensate the plaintiffs. The Odakyū Line, which began its quadruple-tracking work in 1989, would normally not have been considered subject to the 1995 guidelines, but the Tōkyō District Court’s interpretation is that the “guidelines are entirely permissible for consideration in this case,” leading to the conclusion that a portion of the residents had been exposed to noise above “tolerable levels.”

On the other hand, the ruling recognized the Odakyū Line’s critical role for the public and the scope of damage inflicted to the plaintiffs, and avoided the “noise injunction” requested by the plaintiffs. This seems like a balanced decision that forces Odakyū to take action while still considering the impacts to train operations.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:16 AM   #1655
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Keikyū to open new business hotels at Yokohama Station, Kamata in preparation for Haneda expansion
http://www.sankeibiz.jp/business/new...0502004-n1.htm

Quote:
On August 19, Keihin Electric Express Railway (Keikyū) announced that it will open new branches of its Keikyū EX Inn business hotel chain at Yokohama Station’s East Exit in Yokohama City and in the Kamata district in Ōta Ward, Tōkyō. Both hotels have good access to Haneda Airport, and the railway aims to strenghten its efforts to capture customers in preparation for the increase in international flights arriving at and departing from Haneda starting in late October.

The Yokohama Station East Exit location will open September 14, and the Kamata location will open in October. Guest rooms will consist mostly of single rooms, with a total of 96 rooms at the Yokohama Station East Exit location and 155 rooms at the Kamata location. The typical room rates at the Yokohama Station East Exit location will be ¥9,500 per person night.
Rendering of Yokohama Station East Exit hotel:
Source: Keihin Electric Express Railway

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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:19 AM   #1656
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JR East and Tōkyū announce new 195 m tower for West Exit at Yokohama Station
http://mytown.asahi.com/areanews/kan...008300350.html

Quote:
The scene outside the West Exit of Yokohama Station is about to change dramatically—a 195 m tall skyscraper is set to make its debut by FY2019. The YOKOHAMA CIAL retail facility and Yokohama Excel Hotel Tōkyū currently at the West Exit will be closed before the end of the fiscal year, with the new tower being built in their place.

JR East and Tōkyū revealed the plan to reporters.

The core of the project will be a 33-story “Station Tower” that will surpass the Yokohama Bay Sheraton Hotel and Towers (115 m) in height, becoming the tallest building in the West Exit area. The second through ninths floors of the building will house retail uses, the tenth floor a cultural exchange facility, and the 13th through 33rd floors office uses. The retail portions of the tower will be joined by connecting passages to a new retail facility (“Above-Track Tower”) that will span across JR Yokohama Station. Currently, JR Yokohama Station has ticketing entrances that are at a lower elevation than the station’s platforms, but with the proposed development, new ticketing entrances are scheduled at elevations above the height of the station’s platforms, directly connected to the Above-Track Tower.

In addition, at a location several hundred meters north of the Station Tower near where the tracks dive below the Shuto Expressway (Tsuruyachō area), a one-story underground, nine-story aboveground vehicular parking structure with capacity for 800 vehicles is also planned. A pedestrian promenade will be constructed at ground level, connecting to the Station Tower.

Meanwhile, the existing facilities that have become a symbol of the West Exit will disappear forever by March of next year.

In preparation for the closure, YOKOHAMA CIAL has planned various sale campaigns starting in September, and on March 27, the curtain will fall on a history spanning close to 50 years. Yokohama Excel Hotel Tōkyū, which opened in 1962 along with YOKOHAMA CIAL, will also close its doors at the end of March next year. The realization that both facilities require large-scale construction and investment for seismic reinforcement was a contributing factor in abandoning a possible renovation.
Plans:
Source: Tōkyū Corporation





Looks like the construction at Yokohama Station won’t be ending anytime soon.
The project itself is pretty impressive, with a gross floor area of about 184,000 sq m and a large section to be built right above the JR tracks.

Aerial. The West Exit of the station is at center. The elevated platforms from left to right:
  • Platforms 9-10: Yokosuka Line / Shōnan-Shinjuku Line (recently widened)
  • Platforms 7-8 and 5-6: Tōkaidō Line
  • Platforms 3-4: Keihin-Tōhoku Line / Negishi Line
  • Platforms 1-2: Keikyū Main Line
In the past, the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line platforms used to be wedged in between the Yokosuka Line and the West Exit building, but those were undergrounded in 2004 to connect with the Minato Mirai Line.


Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/helicopter/

At ground level. Yokohama CIAL is at center, and just to the left is the Yokohama Excel Hotel Tōkyū.


Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/helicopter/
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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:22 AM   #1657
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Keikyū announces temporary elevation of Main Line outbound track on September 26
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/na...902000033.html

Quote:
On September 8, the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government and Keikyū announced that the four grade crossings on the Keikyū Main Line in Ōta Ward near Loop Road No. 8 (a section approx. 800 m long) will be eliminated with the start of service on September 26. The inbound track has already been elevated, and while the completion of the elevation of the outbound track is scheduled for FY2012, the outbound track will be shifted to operate on temporary elevated track. The effort is likely to contribute to elimination of heavy congestion on Loop Road No. 8.

According to the Metropolitan Government and Keikyū, a 2007 survey showed that, among the four grade crossings, the Keikyū Kamata No. 5 crossing stayed closed for a cumulative total of as much as 43 minutes and 42 seconds in the hour—earning it a reputation as a crossing that rarely opens. The surroundings handle approx. 23,000 vehicles a day, making the area one of the top congestion hotspots in Tōkyō Prefecture.

In May, the entire inbound track on this section was completely elevated, reducing the crossing down time by around 15 minutes. While complete elevation of the outbound track is still two years down the line, the railway will now convert temporary track formerly used for the inbound track into the outbound track. With the elimination of the four grade crossings, the railway also says it will now be able to deal with increased traffic volumes expected with the real start of international flights at Haneda Airport. The track switchout work will take place starting after the last train on September 25.

A complete elevation of the tracks around Keikyū Kamata Station is currently underway with the Metropolitan Government as project lead, including the section of the Keikyū Main Line between Heiwajima and Rokugōdote Stations (approx. 4.7 km) and the Airport Line between Keikyū Kamata and Ōtorii Stations (approx. 1.3 km).
According to Keikyū, the four grade crossings to be eliminated are as follows (also showing the crossing down time, before any of the elevation work):
  • Keikyū Kamata No. 4: 41m05s
  • Keikyū Kamata No. 5 (Loop Road No. 8): 43m42s
  • Keikyū Kamata No. 6: 42m18s
  • Keikyū Kamata No. 8: 38m16s

Montages of grade crossings on the Keikyū Main Line. These were all taken when the inbound track was still at ground level.
Source: VVVF2100 on YouTube

Between Keikyū Kamata and Zōshiki. This one contains the crossing with Loop Road No. 8.



Between Heiwajima and Ōmorimachi.



Between Ōmorimachi and Umeyashiki.



Between Umeyashiki and Keikyū Kamata. This one has door-cut footage at Umeyashiki.



Between Zōshiki and Rokugōdote.



According to another Keikyū press release, the partial elevation of trains at the National Route 15 crossing (No. 1 Keihin crossing) at Keikyū Kamata Station in May has also reduced maximum vehicle queues at that crossing by about 60 percent.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:25 AM   #1658
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Local residents urge name change for Sangyō Dōro Station on Keikyū Daishi Line
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/kan...OYT8T00123.htm

Quote:
Regarding Sangyō Dōro (lit. “Industrial Road”) Station (Kawasaki Ward, Kawasaki City) on the Kehin Electric Express Railway (Keikyū) Daishi Line, where the station building is currently being relocated as part of the undergrounding of the train line, local residents are lobbying Keikyū and the Kawasaki City Council to change the name of the station. Instead of the current station name which draws on the name of an adjacent roadway, proponents are calling for the station to be renamed to Daishi-gawara Station. While the name draws from local roots, some residents have an affection for “Sangyō Dōro Station,” which pays homage to the industrial belt that was a powerhouse behind Japan’s post-war miracle.

“Now is our chance to change the name of the station,” confides Ishiwata Minoru (66), the chairman of the local Uedamachi Neighborhood Association, amidst the booming noise generated by construction of the temporary station building.

Ever since he moved to the neighborhood 40 years ago, Ishiwata has always felt uneasy with the “artificial” station name. Even in neighborhood associations, the issue has been repeatedly brought up, and Ishiwata says others have expressed their discontent: “There are other locally-rooted station names along the Daishi Line like Kawasaki Daishi and Higashi-Monzen, but there’s nothing local about ‘Sangyō Dōro.’”

With the start of construction in 2006, Ishiwata proposed a name change to a council of 15 neighborhood associations along the line, eventually receiving support from the other neighborhood associations. In November of last year, he submitted a petition to Keikyū and the City Council.

According to the city’s Place Names Library, the name “Daishi-gawara” being proposed by Ishiwata and other proponents has historical roots and was registered in documents from Eiroku 2 (1559), as well as included in lyrics to “The Railway Song” from the Meiji period. In the past, the name had become an official village name, but is now only restricted to a portion of the area surrounding the station. Proponents argue that “using it as the station name will preserve it for posterity.”

At the regular June meeting of the City Council, questions concerning the name change were submitted, and city officials responded by saying they would transmit the local residents’ request to Keikyū. Keikyū’s public relations department says the railway is “grateful for the suggestion and will consider it internally.” Ishiwata says he is confident that his request has not fallen on deaf ears and eagerly awaits a response.

Meanwhile, some residents admit an affection to the current station name, including Enomoto Takeshi (69), a part-time teacher at an elementary school who lives near the station. A former full-time elementary school teacher, Enomoto used the station daily to commute to his job in Yokohama City.

During Japan’s post-war miracle in the 1960s and 70s, Enomoto came with his students from Yokohama on fieldtrips to the factories surrounding the station. Enomoto remembers telling his students that they “were in the heart of the industrial belt that supports all of Japan.” “When I think back to those times, I know I’ll be a little sad if they change the station name,” confides Enomoto. The station building relocation is scheduled to begin in 2013, and local eyes are glued on the words that will appear in the nameplates of the new station building to open a few years after.

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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:28 AM   #1659
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NTT Card Solution and Keikyū ink PASMO deal
http://www.keikyu.co.jp/corporate/pr...100831_1.shtml

Quote:
NTT Card Solution Corp. (NTT-CS; HQ: Minato Ward, Tōkyō; President: Shimizu Takeshi) and Keihin Electric Express Railway (Keikyū; HQ: Minato Ward, Tōkyō; President: Ishiwata Tsuneo) have agreed to cooperate in a joint venture to consider a new business capitalizing on the technology behind the PASMO transport IC card.

As the first part of this effort, NTT-CS will use its position and wide-ranging network as the total card supplier for NTT Group and work to expand the PASMO-affiliated network of stores starting in September 2010.

In order to expand PASMO services, both companies are committed to combining their strengths—the IC card solutions knowhow of NTT-CS with the PASMO knowhow of Keikyū—and working together to increase convenience for PASMO users by expanding its acceptance in all scenes of daily life.

Reference
  • NTT Card Solution Corp.
    HQ: 1-21-31 Minami-Aoyama, Minato Ward, Tōkyō
    Representative: Representative Director and President Shimizu Takeshi
    Capital: ¥100 million
    Main businesses: IC card solutions, electronic money (eMonext), prepaid cards
  • Keihin Electric Express Railway Co., Ltd.
    HQ: 2-20-20 Takanawa, Minato Ward, Tōkyō
    Representative: Director and President Ishiwata Tsuneo
    Capital: ¥43.7 billion
    Main businesses: Transport, real estate, leisure / service, distribution, and other

Notes
Total card supplier: A company that deals in everything from the manufacture and sale to the distribution, payment settlement, and operations and management of cards (ID) and card solutions that meet the purposes and needs of customers, from magnetic cards to IC cards and electronic money
The second part of the project calls for introduction of PASMO into NTT Group facilities, including inside vending machines and employee cafeterias.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:29 AM   #1660
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Tōkyō Monorail to open new South Exit at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station
http://www.tokyo-monorail.co.jp/news...s_20100820.pdf

Quote:
In an effort to improve convenience of Haneda Airport passengers, Tōkyō Monorail will open a new ticketing entrance—the South Exit—at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station beginning with the start of service on Wednesday, October 13, 2010, in coordination with the debut of the expanded section of Terminal 2 at Haneda Airport.

The current ticketing entrance will be renamed the North Exit.

We hope you will have a chance to use the new exit.

Scheduled opening
Start of service on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station
Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station is directly connected to Terminal 2 at Haneda Airport, and thanks to an excellent approach alignment and monorail headways of three to five minutes even during the midday period, we will provide smooth and comfortable airport access.

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