June 10 2021
By Barrier Free Japan with extracts from NHK
Commuter or IC cards such as “Suica” and “PASMO”, services will allow people with disabilities to receive discounts on fares will begin in the latter half of next year on railroads and buses in the Kanto region and elsewhere.
When people with disabilities use Suica or PASMO to travel by train or bus, they must show their disability certificate to a station attendant at the ticket gate to receive a discount on the fare.
In order to make it easier for people with disabilities to use the system, a council made up of 69 railway and bus operators in the Kanto region and elsewhere has announced that from the second half of next year people will be able to use Suica and PASMO to receive discounts without having to show their disability certificate.
On June 10th, the presidents of JR East and Odakyu Electric Railway explained the details of the service to Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
Minister Akabane said, “I would like you to do this as a matter of course public policy, so that services that can be received by able-bodied people can be received by disabled people in the same way.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), there are many public transport systems in Japan that offer discounts for the disabled using IC cards, but this is the first in the Kanto region. Disabled people’s group ‘hopes to start’ Kanichi Ichihara, executive director of the Tokyo Association for the Blind, said: “We are hoping that the new system will save people with disabilities from having to call station staff at unmanned ticket gates, which is becoming more common in Tokyo, or having to go to ticket gates where station staff are present.
Since the disability certificate includes the name of the disease that led to the disability, some people feel self-conscious when they have to show it to the station staff every time, even though they know they have no choice but to do so.