Suica 2 in 1 Region Affiliate List

2022 is a big year for JR East Suica 2 in 1 region affiliate transit cards with announcements and launches coming regularly. Instead of separate posts I’ll continually update this page with new information.

2 in 1 Region Affiliate List
As of 2022-03-12, 10 cards serving 19 regional affiliate transit companies have been announced and/or launched:

RegionTypeJR East AnnouncementCard NameService LaunchRegion Affiliates
UtsunomiyaBus•LTR2019-07-09totra2021-03-21Kanto Transportation
JR Bus Kanto
Utsunomiya Light Rail
Iwate PrefectureBus2020-1-16Iwate Green Pass2021-03-27Iwate Kotsu Co. Ltd.
Iwate PrefectureBus2020-10-20iGUCA2022-02-19Northern Iwate Transportation
Hachinohe CityBus2020-10-21HACHICA2022-02-26Northern Iwate Transportation
Hachinohe City Bus
Aomori CityBus2020-11-19AOPASS2022-03-05Aomori City Bus
GunmaBus2021-03-18nolbé2022-03-12Joshin-Dentetsu
Gunma Chuo Bus
Nippon Chuo Bus
Gunma Bus
Yajima Taxi
Nagai Bus
AkitaBus2021-11-24Shuhoku Orange Pass2022-03-12Shuhoku Bus
Akita CityBus2020-11-30AkiCA2022-03-26Akita Chuo Kotsu Co. Ltd.
Yamagata CityBus2021-03-09cherica2022-05-14Yamako-Bus Co. Ltd
Shonai Kotsu Co. Ltd
AomoriBus2021-11-17Towada SkyBlue Pass2022-04-29Towada Kankō Dentetsu

The important card features are:

  • 2 in 1 Commuter Passes: JR East Suica commuter plan & region affiliate operator commuter plan
  • 2 in 1 Points: JRE POINT & region affiliate transit points
  • Region affiliate exclusive services: special discount fares/subsidies/points for disabled users and elderly, as well as disability fare Suica 2 in 1 cards (a first for Suica also coming to Tokyo area Suica users in October 2022)

…all in one 2 in 1 Suica card, an integral part of the JR East MaaS strategy:

  • Local branded MaaS: Suica 2 in 1 region affiliate cards have their own branding, region commuter passes and reward transit points that are managed by the affiliate transportation company or local government operator. In addition to earning regular JRE POINT, local transit points are automatically added and used for transit in the region affiliate area. There will be special services and discounts for local area residents linked to Ny Number Card in the future as part of the JR East local region MaaS program.
  • Suica benefits: Though they have different branding, local region 2 in 1 cards are Suica cards with all the Suica infrastructure benefits including Shinkansen eTickets, nationwide Transit IC compatibility, eMoney, JRE POINT, etc. This means they automatically plug into the wider transit and payments network for seamless transit locally and nationally. The extended Suica coverage means that Suica and Transit IC card users can travel in these newly added areas.
  • Contactless: eliminating paper tickets and hard cash in areas without Transit IC cards in the COVID era is a good thing, VISA Touch is marketing the hell out of it too. More on the subject here.
  • Local and national government transit support subsidies for rural areas will be used to help launch cards and promote local transit services. Yamagata prefecture for example will provide the equivalent of 5.2 million USD for a region card that will cover all public transit for the prefecture. Yamagata Suica infrastructure subsidy details explained here.

Suica 2 in 1 is central technology of JR East MaaS strategy, it offers the benefits of Suica infrastructure to link 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 orphaned regions into the wider transit network and leveraging the established infrastructure is the sensible thing to do. I wish JR East had done it years ago. We will see more announcements in the coming months and Japanese press coverage as the bulk of the new card services launch in February~May 2022.

All 2 in 1 Region Card announcements to date have been for new cards. The bigger challenge for JR East will be incorporating existing and important region transit cards inside the JR East MaaS transit region such Niigata Kotsu Ryuto and Sendai City Transportation Bureau icsca that help reduce costs and extend benefits for everybody.

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