Via Ata Distance:
JR East and Sony announced co-development of a ‘national’ super Suica card that will replace local Japanese transit card variations such as ICOCA, TOICA, SUGOCA, Kitaca, PASMO, manaca, Nimoca, Hayaken and others into a single card that does it all. JR East and Sony plan to have the card in circulation starting April 2021. Too late for the 2020 Summer Tokyo Olympics party certainly, but great news for transit customers nationwide nevertheless. The clouds of uncertainty have parted, the transit platform future shines bright.
Japanese transit cards are already compatible with each other for transit and e-money purchases but commuter passes and point systems are still tied to local transit cards. You can use Apple Pay Suica in Nagoya and Osaka, but you can’t add a Suica Commuter Plan for an area outside of the JR East rail network. Also it is difficult if not impossible for smaller transit companies to host local transit cards on mobile. The new super Suica card will solve these problems and reduce costs for everybody. I suspect the current ¥20,000 Suica limit will also be raised to ¥40,000 or more for Japan-wide ‘Touch and Go Shinkansen’ service.
The new card will likely resemble the recently released Mizuho Suica, a basic super Suica card with localized branding, commuter plans and point systems. The Mobile Suica cloud infrastructure is already in place so everything will be hosted on that.
It will be great to have a single Apple Pay ‘Super Suica’ card that can do it all, from Shinkansen to commuter plans and point systems nationwide. I don’t know about you but I can hardly wait.
More good news for Japanese transit.