Trial Bus Service with Contactless Technology Launches in Miyakojima, Okinawa
– Miyakojima Loop Bus Plans to Operate for a Limited Period from October 25th, 2020 –
Oct. 20, 2020
Miyako Kyoei Bus LPC
Yachiyo Bus & Taxi Corporation
Chuo Kotsu, Inc.
Putmenu Co., Ltd.
Sojitz Corporation (“Sojitz”) together with Miyako Kyoei Bus LPC (“Miyako Kyoei Bus”), Yachiyo Bus & Taxi Corporation (“Yachiyo Bus & Taxi”), Chuo Kotsu, Inc. (“Chuo Kotsu”), NEC Corporation (“NEC”), and Putmenu Co., Ltd. (“Putmenu”) will begin a trial of Miyakojima Loop Bus, a bus service that will be routed through the main tourist sites and accommodations in Miyakojima, Okinawa.
With greater tourism, Miyakojima faces challenges such as a shortage of transportation to and from tourist sites, fewer taxis available during peak hours, and traffic congestion from higher numbers of rented vehicles on the road. Miyakojima has contracted Sojitz and its partners to conduct feasibility studies through this trial bus service to increase convenience of bus-based transportation—a primary mode of transportation on the island and to equip buses with contactless technology among other COVID-19 safety measures.
Sojitz and its five partners aim to increase convenience and mobility to accommodate the recent trend of increasing tourism from both Japan and abroad. At the same time, special fares will be established for Miyakojima residents in order to increase their eco-mindset and use of public transportation.
In response to the new normal under COVID-19, basic safety measures will be taken to prevent infection, such as requiring all passengers to wear masks and performing routine sanitation of buses. Contactless payment and boarding will be implemented as part of this bus service trial by the following two companies.
1) By NEC: Buses will be equipped with facial recognition technology ranked number one in the world five times by the U.S.’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
2) By Putmenu: Ticketless boarding will be instituted on the buses. In cooperation with the LINE app, Putmenu will make it possible for passengers to purchase bus tickets online.
Sojitz is already involved with Miyakojima’s Shimojishima Airport management business, and through this new Miyakojima Loop Bus project the company seeks to increase use of public transportation systems and to provide benefits to both the local community and tourists. Sojitz will consider plans to implement new mobility services in its pursuit of building a public transportation model in Miyakojima that is both safe and sustainable.
Role of Each Company
|Sojitz Corporation||General coordination and business feasibility studies for commercialization|
|Miyako Kyoei Bus LPC||Bus operations|
|Yachiyo Bus & Taxi Corporation|
|Chuo Kotsu, Inc.|
|NEC Corporation||Provision of boarding service using facial-recognition technology|
|Putmenu Co., Ltd.||Collaboration with LINE Corporation to offer a cashless and ticketless bus boarding service|