Another day, another JR East Super Suica 2 in 1 card announcement, this one for Aomori City buses due to launch in spring 2022, just about the same time as Mobile ICOCA. This is the 3rd and 4th Super Suica 2 in 1 card announcement so far:
- Utsunomiya Area (Light Rail) March 2021
- Hachinohe Area (Aomori Pref. buses) March 2021
- Aomori City 🆕 (City buses) March 2022
- Akita City 🆕 (City buses) March 2022
The latest announcements are similar to earlier press releases but there are some interesting new details that shed more light on what the Super Suica service will look like.
- Local Branding: Super Suica 2 in 1 local area cards will have their own branding and reward points. I suspect local reward points can be exchanged for or plug into the JRE POINT system as well. There will also likely be special services and discounts for local area residents linked to Ny Number Card.
- Suica benefits: Though they have different branding local 2 in 1 cards are Suica cards with all the Suica infrastructure benefits including Mobile Suica, Shinkansen eTickets, Transit IC compatibility, eMoney, etc.
- Contactless: eliminating paper tickets and hard cash in areas without Transit IC cards in the COVID era is a good thing though credit card companies are marketing the hell out of it too. More on this in a later post.
Super Suica offers the benefits of Suica infrastructure to local transit agencies within the JR East area who don’t have the resources to launch or maintain their own Transit IC card system. Plugging those orphaned areas into the wider transit network with the same infrastructure is the sensible thing to do, I wish JR East had done this years ago. We should see more announcements in the coming months and Japanese press coverage as the first services prepare to launch in March 2021.
Super Suica 2 in 1 card announced for Akita City buses on November 30.