JR firms apply for fare increases for April sales tax hike

Kyodo

Six Japan Railway group passenger railroads have applied with the government for hikes in fares to reflect a hike in the 5 percent consumption tax to 8 percent in April.

Of the six, only East Japan Railway Co. sought permission Thursday for a hike in increments of ¥1 for users of smart cards, to correctly reflect the tax hike on railway fares.

Passengers buying tickets without using smart cards will be charged in increments of ¥10, resulting in double fares for JR East riders.

Five others — Hokkaido Railway Co., Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai), West Japan Railway Co., Shikoku Railway Co. and Kyushu Railway Co. — set their fares in increments of ¥10 for users of smart cards and tickets as the use of their smart cards is lower than JR East.

The six railroads that filed the applications with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism plan to raise their fares on April 1.

Fares of the six companies will be raised by around 2.86 percent on average.

JR East, which operates a network of commuter lines, said fares for smart card users would be lower than ticket buyers on some busy lines in Tokyo and its vicinity.

Minimum fares at JR Tokai, JR West, JR Shikoku and JR Kyushu are left unchanged.

JR East set its minimum fare at ¥140 for ticket buyers and ¥133 for smart card users, up from ¥130.