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"Ships" change Tokyo in commuter hell? Softbank × Toyota Monet's “comfort ship attendance” experiment-Engadget Japan version

MONET
Demonstration experiment of "shipping MaaS" that transports commuters in Tokyo by small boat has started. The demonstration experiment will be held four times a day for three days from 15 to 17 days. This demonstration experiment is led by Tokyo and is being conducted by Monet Technologies [MONET], a subsidiary of SoftBank.

This is an effort to utilize the old and new means of transportation "ship" for the commuting rush in Tokyo, which is known worldwide for its severeness. For employees in the Takeshiba area, shipping from Kachidoki to Takeshiba and on-demand bus transportation from the Takeshiba small boat terminal to Hamamatsucho Station were provided as a set.MONET

We usually use a small boat between Kachidoki and Takeshiba that is operated for sightseeing, and carry about 30 passengers at a time during the morning rush hour to the Takeshiba small boat terminal. There, we operate an on-demand bus [push transportation by assumed large passenger cars] to Hamamatsucho.

When actually boarding, the number of passengers was limited to 30 people, so there were enough seats, and it was a different level of comfort than a regular commuter rush. Passengers in the demonstration experiment also boarded in a calm atmosphere, such as drinking coffee from Tokyo Bay.

MONET▲ The boat runs from Kachidoki Pier through the Asashio Suimon to Takeshiba Small Ship Terminal
MONET
▲ There are desks and chairs on board, so you can relax
MONET▲ After arriving, operate an on-demand bus [push transport by Hiace assuming] to Hamamatsucho, the nearest station of JR

As part of the buzzword "MaaS [transportation of services]," this demonstration experiment assumes a usage style of transiting from a ship to a bus or a train. Verification is also performed, such as using passenger IC cards such as Suica to authenticate passengers.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is conducting various demonstration tests to realize a new transportation system, and 実 証 A demonstration test for transporting commuters by boat will be held in the summer of 2019 for the Tokyo Olympics from Kachidoki to Nihonbashi. Have been Although the content of this initiative is similar, Monet, who is engaged in MaaS system development under SoftBank's umbrella, will collectively conduct a demonstration experiment that can ride various transportation means with a single reservation [scenario]. It will be an initiative.

MONET
▲ Certified by Suica when boarding a ship or bus

■ Gracefully avoid "commuting hell"

In fact, the section “Kachidoki-Hamamatsucho” of this experiment runs on the Toei Subway Oedo Line, so it takes only about 10 minutes by train without a transfer and about 20 minutes including walking.

On the other hand, if you go by boat, there is no time advantage, about 30 minutes including transfer. The ship itself takes about 15 minutes, and you can transfer from Takeshiba's small boat terminal in front of Takeshiba Station on the new transportation Yurikamome, but if you go to Hamamatsucho Station by bus, it will take about 5 minutes. In addition, there is time to get on and off the boat and transfer to the bus, which will take more than 30 minutes.

Shipping MaaS▲ Yellow is the route of the ship + on-demand bus [about 30 minutes]. Magenta is the route from Kachidoki to Hamamatsucho [Daimon Station] on the Toei Oedo Line [about 10 minutes]

On the other hand, commuting by boat is expected to have a demand for a comfortable commute even if it takes time and effort.

The Kachidoki district is an area where the population is rapidly increasing in the rush of construction of tower apartments, and it is expected that the population will further increase in the future because the athlete village released as a residential area after the Tokyo Olympics is nearby Have been

MONET▲ Around Kachidoki Station crowded with morning commuting rush

Public transportation available around Kachidoki includes the subway [Toei Oedo Line] and buses, but in the morning commuting rush hours, it is concentrated at Kachidoki Station on the Toei Oedo Line. The passenger population at Kachidoki Station is 50,107 per day [FY2018], the fourth largest on the Toei Oedo Line after Roppongi Station. At Kachidoki Station, improvements are being made to accommodate more passengers.

If we can avoid such a hell of commuting rush and can commute by boat comfortably, there seems to be a need to use it.

■ High hurdles lined up for practical use of "MaaS"

However, this is only a demonstration experiment, and there are many issues for the small boat transport of Kachidoki to Takeshiba to function as public transportation.

The first is the maintenance of transportation hardware. The small boat used was a 90-seater tourist boat, which did not have enough traffic to ease the congestion of the morning traffic rush train. Only a few hundred passengers will be able to operate daily, and the benefits of transportation will only be realized.

In addition, there are significant challenges in terms of software, especially the fee structure. If you go from Kachidoki to Hamamatsucho by subway, the fare is 178 yen. If you go to Tokyo by bus, it costs only 210 yen. Assuming a route to be used for commuting from a ship to a bus, even if the ship itself costs about 200 yen, the price may be several times higher without a transfer discount.


▲ Slides presented by Monet at the event of the MONET Consortium in March 2019

The concept of “MaaS” is expected to solve such public transportation toll problems. With MaaS, you can not only make reservations for various transportations and issue tickets with the application, but also issue tickets at the fare through trains, buses, taxis, shared bicycles, etc., sell tickets with a flat-rate unlimited ride, etc. It is assumed to be used like issuing a ticket whose price goes up or down accordingly.

Monet is a company aiming to build the "MaaS" system, and was established as a joint venture between SoftBank and Toyota Motor Corporation, and has cooperated with public transport and local governments in various regions as the "MONET Consortium". Its member companies include major transportation operators such as JR East, Tokyu Corporation, ANA and JAL.

Monet's President Junichi Miyakawa said in a box interview after the end of this demonstration experiment, "Everybody does not use it if it is 200 yen on a boat, 200 yen on a railroad, 200 yen on a transit bus. You have to think about it. " As for unlimited "subscription", he said positively, "It is necessary for using transportation in urban areas. I think there are enough needs."

MONET
▲ Mr. Junichi Miyakawa, President of Monet Technologies [and SoftBank CTO]

In this demonstration experiment, launching a commuting service that combines a ship and a bus [as well as showing that Monet is active] has provided material to determine how much fares passengers will actually accept. It seems that there is a great aim.

There is already an example in other countries about the unified fare system of public transportation that integrates subways and buses, and it is not something that can be done only with MaaS. There is also a flat-rate "all-you-can-ride" service, such as "Whim" in Finland [often taken up as a typical example of MaaS]. There is nothing that cannot be achieved in Tokyo.

However, if a uniform fare system is to be realized in the Tokyo area, cooperation with a large number of transportation operators is essential. There are three companies, JR East, Tokyo Metro, and Toei Subway [Tokyo], and many private railways are connected by direct trains. If a unified fare system is to be pursued, it will be necessary to coordinate with many other operators responsible for transportation in Tokyo, including buses, taxis, and ships.

Monet's departure is likely to face a rough wave of coordination with transportation companies in various places.


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