Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pasmo and Suica, Expanding Valid Areas

Poster to announce the expansion of Pasmo and Suica service area at Chitose-Funabashi Station.

As I mentioned in my blog on January 29th, 2012, Pasmo and Suica are prepaid IC transit cards for railway and bus passengers in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The function of Pasmo and Suica are the same. The only difference is the issuer. Pasmo is issued by private railway and bus companies, whilst JR East issues Suica.

Pasmo and Suica are interoperable. You just need to make a binary choice, but, up until recently, these IC cards have only been interchangeable within the Tokyo metropolita area. In other words, passengers, who visit the outside of Tokyo, have had to obtain the other local IC cards to travel around each area.

On March 23rd, 2013, the situation drastically changed. The ten IC cards of Japan's eleven major transit authorities have become interchangeable. These ten cards include Suica and Pasmo in Tokyo, Kitaca in Hokkaido, Pitaca and Icoca in Osaka and so on. I have seen posters to announce the expansion of the Pasmo and Suica service area at Chitose-Funabashi, my nearest station (see the top photo). I have also found a new IC card charging machine at Shimokitazawa Station on the Keio-Inokashira Line recently (see the following photo).

Once you get an IC card and deposit some money, you can take almost all railway and bus routes in Japan now. It is convenient for shopping as well, because these cards can also be used as electronic money. I couldn't be happier as a Pasmo holder to hear the news.
 
New IC card chargng machine at Shimokitazawa Station on the Keio-Inokashira Line
 
National interoperable mass transit IC card system guide: