East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) said Tuesday that it will run a reward point program for a year from next spring to further promote staggered commuting.
The railway operator will give points to passengers who use a commuter pass stored on a Suica e-money card in off-peak hours on weekday mornings. Travel on all of JR East's train lines in the Tokyo metropolitan area except shinkansen will be eligible for the reward program.
At a time when many workers are already adopting teleworking amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is seeking to further reduce peak commuter crowding during morning hours.
Users of the program will need to register their Suica commuter passes with the JRE Point service in order to receive the points. It will be possible to use the points, which will be credited as users pass through ticket gates to ride trains before and after the morning rush hour, to pay for train travel as well as purchases at shops inside station buildings and JR East's online stores.
The specific time of the day when the program will apply will differ from line to line.
"We want to prevent the number of passengers during peak hours from increasing sharply after people come back," JR East President Yuji Fukasawa said at a news conference Tuesday. On the company's plans after the end of the one-year program, Fukasawa said that JR East wants to make a decision based on how much the program is used.
The company will also launch a program benefiting people who do not use commuter passes.
From next March, holders of Suica cards without commuter passes who travel on the same-fare section 10 times in a month will receive points equivalent to a single-trip fare for the same section.
The noncommuter pass program will be available for all JR East lines that accept Suica cards excluding shinkansen.
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