tech

JR East launching app that will allow for real-time tracking of train services

22 Comments

JR East has announced plans to launch a smartphone application that will allow customers to track the arrival status of trains, the interior temperature of the cars, and even the level of passenger congestion at any given time.

The "JR East Japan App" is scheduled to launch on March 10, Sankei Shimbun reported. Functions of the app include tracking the location of trains, travel updates and announcements from JR, as well as any delays that might occur. The application will even allow for someone to track the congestion and the internal temperature of one particular train on the Yamanote line in Tokyo.

Furthermore, the app will provide detailed information on the 1,700-plus train stations located in the Tokyo metropolitan area, including both location and availability of storage lockers inside the stations.

The app will be free to consumers (excluding data and texting charges), even as JR East Japan plans to continue expanding the available services in the near future.

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22 Comments
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Kanji only, we presume

Hey, don't knock it just because you didn't learn the language of the country you live in.

9 ( +10 / -2 )

What about allowing charging suica by credit card and booking intercity and all Shinkansen trains online?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

and the app will be called...?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kanji only, we presume.

Probably, but you can use this as a motivation to learn the kanji in that app. There will only be a limited number of them, and learning them will benefit your life in other areas as well.

Back in the day when I first came here, the only schedules we had were paper schedules that each station would hand out. I read almost no Japanese at the time, but learned a lot by using these schedules.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

While this app will eventually be great for tracking commuter trains on the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) network in the Tokyo area, what about tracking private railways and subways in the same area? Remember, it's possible some commuters will ride a JR East train, then a private railway train and finally a subway train just to get to work from home.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Educator60

I am perfectly aware that online reservations are possible with some shinkansen trains and for express trains. However, Eki-net still requires physical collection of train tickets the day before traveling, which in my opinion makes it totally worthless. A proper online booking system lets you book your own ticket or transfer a paperless online ticket on your phone for travel.

Also, credit card recharge is only available if you register the co-branded View card. Ticket machines at stations only accept cash as a mode of payment for recharging Suica.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

cdemakio

“JR East Japan App” こと「JR東日本アプリ」です。

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Guillaume.

You can already recharge your Suica from your CC for years.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I read almost no Japanese at the time, but learned a lot by using these schedules.

I learned pretty much the same way. The first Kanji I learned were all place names. Getting around and seeing the country was definitely my motivation for learning the language.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Guillaume Varès

It has been possible for years to book JR East Shinkansen and express trains online through the JR East Eki-net system. Nowadays I do all my booking online in the comfort of my own home. Not sure what is available for non JR East areas as I fly when I need to travel in those parts.

Back in the old days, I also learned a lot of kanji through the paper schedules given out at each station and the books of complete nationwide schedules that can be consulted at stations or purchased at bookstores and station kiosks. Still use the paper ones for the local station that come with the local newspaper. Interested in this new app so will put it in my phone and see what it has to offer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are other apps (I use Jourdan's app myself) that cover other train lines. This one is put out by JR, so it's not surprising it's JR only.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Guillaume VarèsMar. "@Educator60 I am perfectly aware that online reservations are possible with some shinkansen trains and for express trains. However, Eki-net still requires physical collection of train tickets the day before traveling, which in my opinion makes it totally worthless. A proper online booking system lets you book your own ticket or transfer a paperless online ticket on your phone for travel."

As I said, I fly when going outside of East Japan so normally don't really pay attention but just checked the eki-net homepage and actually you CAN book tickets for nationwide JR Shinkansen and Tokkyu express trains. (There is a complete list on the Q&A page, one of the first questions is what trains can be booked.)

Yes you do have to pick up your actual tickets at a station within the JR East area (at a machine, a Green Window or a View Plaza travel center, again where these are available is easily checked on the homepage). So, if for instance, you are going from Tokyo to Kyushu and back, you will need to also pick up your return tickets before you leave Tokyo.

Also, unless you are taking a train that will leave before station services are available (something like 5:30 am), you do not need to pick up the ticket the day before travel, I have gotten mine right before getting on the train more than once, although I prefer to go by the station and get them a day or two before in case I am running late on the day or there is a long line at the machine.

I am not sure what you mean by "A proper online booking system lets you book your own ticket". I used to have to go to a travel agent or the Green Window at the station to book a ticket. Now I can do it online via eki-net. Isn't that booking my own ticket?

I am not saying the eki-net system is perfect (I have been using it shortly after it began and it has improved greatly but could still be better), you do not need to study it carefully and make sure you know where and how to pick up tickets, etc., but I do not think it is as bad as you are painting it out to be.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"StrangerlandMAR. 08, 2014 - 10:00AM JST Kanji only, we presume.--Probably, but you can use this as a motivation to learn the kanji in that app."

Well, that's not much help for tourists coming for a couple days, eg. my 85 year old mother. It's a bit tough to learn a few thousand kanji for a three day visit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yikes, sorry for the garbled last paragraph of my above post, it should have read:

I am not saying the eki-net system is perfect (I have been using it since shortly after it began and it has improved greatly but could still be better), you DO need to study it carefully and make sure you know where and how to pick up tickets, etc., but I do not think it is as bad as you are painting it.

Typos are one thing but I hate it when the meaning ends up opposite to what you meant to say ;-(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@educator60 There was a typo in my message too ;-) I meant, you should be able to print out your own ticket or download it to your phone and be able to travel with it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Guillaume Varès at Mar. 09, 2014 - 01:35PM JST "@educator60 There was a typo in my message too ;-) I meant, you should be able to print out your own ticket or download it to your phone and be able to travel with it."

Ah, now I understand your frustration more. I am able to do that when I fly JAL where the machine at the gate reads the QR code I have printed out and it's very convenient. I did notice Eki-net had a ticketless option but it was only for the Narita Express and another train I forget now. Hopefully this can be expanded sooner rather than later.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's nice to see JR is pushing out a helpful app for their passengers. This is the beginning so it might not be perfect from the get-go, but this is good progress for the future. Thanks JR.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good, I bought the famous "Seishun 18 Kippu" . This will help me in my mini Japan adventure.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I just use the website for train delays. It's sufficient for me.

http://traininfo.jreast.co.jp/train_info/e/kanto.aspx

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Only one credit card though isn't it? Not any credit card.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Does someone on a three day visit really need to know the real-time location of the trains?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Kanji only, we presume.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

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