JJR East is promoting safe transit with less congestion and mobile ticketing with Suica Off Peak Commute and Repeat trip JRE POINT service campaigns. Transit users earn JRE POINT on their weekday work commute when they ride at designated off peak station times, or earn a free trip in JRE POINT with riding the same fare 10 times in the same month.
There are limitations: (1) only end to end transit on JR East lines qualifies for point service, (2) everything is tied into the JRE POINT system. The campaign comes in 2 flavors:
- Off Peak Point Service (Suica App (Regular) Commute Plans): start a work commute at your station during designated ‘Off Peak’ time slots. Off Peak Point Service runs from March 15, 2022 ~ March 31, 2023. A new but very limited Off Peak Point Service will go into effect on April 1, 2023, this guide will be updated before then.
- Repeat Point Service (Regular Suica): 10 of the same Suica fare trips on JR East lines earns a free trip in JRE POINT, additional same fare transits in the same month earn additional points. Repeat Point Service is basically the Suica equivalent of paper ticket ‘buy ten trips and get one free’, a transit institution that has been around forever but is being phased out.
1. Off Peak Point Service
This is a service for regular Mobile Suica Commute Plan and Commuter Suica cards. There are a number of limitations:
- Only end to end transit on JR East lines qualifies for service points. If any part of your commute route uses non-JR East transit gates you won’t get service points. JR East lists all invalid patterns in their PDF, there are lots of them.
- Suica off peak does not cover all JR East stations. The Off Peak Point Service area is limited to a core JR East Tokyo metropolitan area that includes Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama. See the off peak map below or download the PDF file.
- Weekday transit only. Transit on weekends and national holidays does not quality for Off Peak and Repeat Point Service.
- Off Peak Point Service is limited to valid Apple Pay Suica cards with valid commute plans, Mobile Suica (Osaifu Keitai) commuter and plastic Commuter Suica cards. Off Peak is not valid for FLEX, Student, Green, Monorail and Rinkai Suica commuter passes.
There is only one work around for commute routes that start at a JR East gate, transfer to another line and end at a non-JR East gate: exit the JR East section of the transfer station via a JR East gate, then enter via a non-JR East transit gate. The diagram below gives you an idea. At some transfer stations this is easy to do, like JR East Gotanda > Tokyu Gotanda. I am working on a video guide and will post it here.
Off Peak Service Registration
To earn off peak points valid Commuter Suica cards must be: (1) registered in JRE POINT and (2) registered for Off Peak Service Point via the JRE POINT web site. If you do not have a JRE POINT account use this guide to create one.
Off Peak Service Points and Commute Times
The first 1~4 commutes in the month earn 5 JRE POINT for each commute, 5~20 commutes earn 25 JRE POINT for each commute. You must start your commute and enter the gate during designated off peak ‘Early’ or ‘Late’ time slots that are unique for each station. An example: Chou line Hachioji station off peak time blocks are ‘early’ 5:35~6:35 and ‘late’ 8:05~9:05. Chuo line Asagaya stataion off peak time blocks are ‘early’ 6:20~7:20 and ‘late’ 8:50~9:50. Off Peak times are posted at each station, JR East also a PDF that lists all off peak station times.
Off Peak Service Point Reward Schedule
Off Peak Service Points are calculated every 2 months and rewarded to your JRE POINT account the following month. JRE POINT numbers ending in a even digit are rewarded on even months, JRE POINT numbers ending in an odd digit are rewarded on odd months. See the chart below
2. Repeat Point Service
The campaign for regular Suica users who go to the office occasionally but not enough to invest in a commuter pass. Ride JR East lines 10 times a month at the same fare and earn a free ride in JRE POINT. Same fare transits over 10 times in the same month earn an additional 10% of each transit fare in JRE POINT.
- The repeat transit region is much larger than the off peak campaign one and covers all Suica fare JR East lines, all stations with Suica gates in greater Kanto, Niigata and Sendai.
- There is nothing extra transit users need to do other than have their Suica card registered for JRE POINT. If you have already done that it’s all automatic.
- The same end to end transit on JR East lines limitation of the off peak service point also applies to the repeat point service.
- The Repeat Point Service is valid for non-commuter Apple Pay Suica, Mobile Suica and regular JR East issue plastic Suica.
JRE POINT Suica off peak commute and repeat point service campaigns might hit the sweet spot…if you ride JR East lines to work. Unfortunately limitations and conditions make it difficult for many commuters who ride multiple rail company lines.
JR East and other transit companies need to cooperate for reward campaigns, discounts, day passes and more that work across entire regions and reward point systems. There are many innovative things JR East could also be doing: accumulated mileage calculated reward point campaign tailored for each user, yearly commuter passes at a half year price for corporate customers, repurpose empty JR East hotels at Shinkansen friendly regional stations for telework satellite offices that help build regional business.
Instead of innovation and simplicity, we get complex and unfriendly ‘Tonosama’ style campaigns from stodgy transit companies used to having their way with customers. The COVID era transit crisis demands big bold ideas. Japanese transit companies must truly innovate to make transit essential and safe again.