Hankyu Railway plans to launch a paid seat reservation service on its Kyoto Line starting in July, with the introduction of a PRiVACE carriage on each of its limited express and semi-express trains, it said on Monday.

Passengers will be able to purchase tickets for the PRiVACE seats online at a flat rate of ¥500 ($3.30) per ride, regardless of the length of the journey. The reservation charge comes on top of the regular train fare.

PRiVACE carriages will feature spacious seats arranged in three rows, equipped with partitions, reading lights, and power sockets. The seats will be able to recline for increased passenger comfort. Additionally, free Wi-Fi will be available to passengers.

While the carriages will still feature Hankyu's signature maroon colors accented by gold lines, the doors that greet passengers when they board will feature an aesthetic that resembles stained glass, which adds a unique look to the train's exterior. The cabin floor will be lined with carpet to create a luxurious feel for passengers and also to dampen noise. Upon entering the carriage, passengers will be shown to their seats by a dedicated attendant.

Hankyu's PRiVACE service marks the railway operator's first foray into the premium seat segment.

It joins other Kansai-based railway companies that have introduced premium seats for limited express trains in recent years. For instance, Keihan Electric Railway introduced its Premium Car service for limited express trains in 2017 while West Japan Railway started its A Seat service for new rapid trains in 2019.

Hankyu aims for its new service to create "a special car that turns travel time into ‘me’ time," with the name "PRiVACE" being a portmanteau of the words "private" and "place."