In an attempt to give airlines a run for their money, rail companies said Wednesday they will reduce reserved-seat fares on Nozomi bullet trains linking Tokyo and Fukuoka Prefecture.
The 10 percent cuts will be implemented Oct. 1.
In addition, the number of Nozomi services on the Tokaido and Sanyo shinkansen lines will be more than doubled beginning the same day, according to Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) and West Japan Railway Co. (JR West).
The revisions will coincide with the opening of a new Shinagawa Station, located between Tokyo and Shin-Yokohama.
Nozomi fares for reserved seats between JR Tokyo and Shin-Osaka stations, for instance, will be reduced to 5,540 yen from 6,210 yen. This will narrow the price difference between the super express service and Hikari trains, the second-fastest option, to 300 yen from the current 970 yen.
The frequency of Nozomi services between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka stations will be increased from the current three per hour to seven. At the same time, the number of slower Hikari trains, which stop at more stations, will be cut from six per hour to two. Kodama trains, the slowest, will remain unchanged at three an hour.
JR Tokai said it will complete its ongoing project to replace all of its bullet trains with faster models that boast a maximum speed of 270 kph.
JR companies will also introduce nonreserved seats on the Nozomi for the same fare as such seats on Hikari and Kodama trains, they said.
The firms said they hope the lower Nozomi fares, together with the increase in the frequency of trains, will lead to an increase in passengers and help boost revenue.
They expect to obtain approval from the transport ministry by summer, the officials said. Details of the revised timetable will be announced in July.
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