Smart ‘OKICA’ card service to start on Okinawa
Ryoji Nakayoshi, the president of ‘Yui Rail’, the Okinawa Urban Monorail Inc., announced Sep. 1st that the new service starts from Oct. 20th when Yui Rail will launch IC card called ‘OKICA’ and a QR ticket.
With this system people just go through automatic ticket gates touching a reader with an IC card or QR ticket. From October 20th, the system will run in parallel with a current service. Full conversion starts from October 30th.
Four bus companies on Okinawa main island will start the same service next April. OKICA can be used only in Okinawa, and is not interoperable with IC cards of outside Okinawa. Yui Rail is scheduled to issue 34,000 cards of OKICA for the first year and expected 356,000 cards after 10 years. People can buy the cards at ticket vending machines and counters at each monorail station. A card can hold up to ¥30,000. It costs ¥500yen per card as a deposit.
The current service of coupon tickets and magnetic tickets will be abolished. The new point service that people can receive points in response to frequency of usage will start in place of the current discount ticket system. If the new service goes well, there are plans to introduce smart card service to boats and ships sector and taxi business, plus convenience stores and super markets.
This is the first time in Japan to install QR ticket system to a railroad company. Nakayoshi says “We are so glad to install the first IC card in Okinawa. We want tourists to take it back with them, and come and use them in Okinawa again.” The project budget is ¥2.7 billion.