September 27, 2018 – Japan will introduce more foreigner-friendly bus services in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics by implementing an alphanumeric system to simplify labeling of routes and stops, according to the transport ministry.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will draw up guidelines for the new nationwide system soon, with the government seeking to boost inbound tourism.
According to the draft guidelines, each bus route will be identified with up to three digits or a combination of up to four numbers and letters, the ministry said.
The information will be displayed on route maps and bus destination displays as well as at bus stops for local, airport and tourist bus services among others.
At present, bus operators mostly use Japanese characters combined with numbers, though some transport companies are beginning to use an alphanumeric system to help the increasing number of foreign visitors.
The Japanese government is stepping up efforts to attract more foreign visitors as a pillar of its growth strategy, with a goal of 40 million foreign visitors by 2020.
A total of 28.69 million foreign tourists visited Japan in 2017, up 19.3 percent from the previous year.