Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Kyoto Wants Tourists to Pay More to Ride the City Buses

If you've visited Kyoto, you know that the many tourist sites are spread out and that buses are the most common way to get around.  There are only two subway lines and no trains lines running through the largest part of the city. Traveling in Kyoto by bus is about to get more expensive for tourists. Kyoto's municipal government wants to start charging tourists (residents of Japan outside of Kyoto and those from overseas) higher prices than city residents for using city buses. 

It seems there are two reasons given for the plan and they are against each other.  Kyoto mayor Daisaku Kadokawa said the primary reason is to reduce crowding, not raise the price for tourists. The Kyoto City Transportaion Bureau cites a 14.2% drop in Kyoto bus ridership since 2020, as well as having operated in the red for the past three years. Wouldn't raising the prices decrease ridership even more?  In addition, the city announced in March that Kyoto will stop the sales of the one-day unlimited ride bus passes. I've used these all day bus passes and they are very convenient.

The biggest potential roadblock for the tourist price plan is that under current laws the Kyoto bus network is prohibited from unreasonable or unfair fare discrepancies, so it is unknown whether this plan is legal. Time will tell.


Vireya said...

Interesting! I wonder what the reasoning behind the two-tier pricing is? Why not just put the price up for everyone? Perhaps they are worried about a backlash from the locals if they had to pay more.

Queeniepatch said...

We must not forget that Kyoto is a 'living museum'. Ordinary people, like barbers, housewives, nurses, bank clerks, pensioners and school children and so on, actually LIVE there. They should have priority in using local transport services. Why should a 85-year-old lady have to WALK halfway across town to get to the dentist's just because the local bus is full of tourists?
There is, of course, a way to solve the problem - introduce special buses for tourists, and why not shuttle busses between the most famous sights. For residents of Kyoto, issue special bus cards for the local community buses.
I think it is one of the adventures and charms of travelling to 'when in Rome do as the Romans do'. I'd prefer to travel among locals on the ordinary bus, shop in the corner shop and sit on a public park bench, but these things are all there for the sake of the LOCALS, so we tourists must not invade their space. too much.

Toki said...

I don't think Kyoto is a convenient city for residents and tourists when using cars and buses. Always is traffic.
I think the transportation should be improved rather than the price.
For example, divide into a bus that goes around the city and a bus that goes only to famous sightseeing spots. In that case the buses are color coded for easy identification.

When I go to Kyoto, I use the subway and walk.
The one-:day pass that Pamela is talking about is a good deal as you can also ride subway.

J. S. Vila said...

Every country have his own reasons for do determinated things. I dont think that this Will be correct for to atract more tourists to Japan. But remember that a politic is not a owner of one industry, is nota the owner of an hotel, or of a company. He have political ideas but not more good probably with this action. In Spain políticas invented a Green taxi for tourist but they spend It in other actions, not for reforest. Every country have his bads decitions.

J. S. Vila said...

The solution is quality services for residents, and for all japanese people and for tourists too. Better service for everybody, same price for everybody. Thank you for read my words.

Leonore Winterer said...

This seems very strange, with dropping numbers of riders and the bus company writing red numbers...we'll see how it goes. I'd assume with a city as Kyoto, tourists are a lot of their income, so they wouldn't want to drive them away either!