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Travel News JR East and other Kanto operators switching to QR code tickets

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Commuters in eastern Japan will soon bid farewell to the familiar paper tickets with black magnetic layers. By March 2027, JR East and seven other railway operators will introduce a new QR code ticketing system. The shift aims to enhance sustainability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Unlike the current system, where passengers insert paper tickets into the gate, the QR code tickets allow passengers to simply scan the code at the gate, reducing congestion and maintenance needs. Moreover, these paper QR code tickets are more environmentally friendly and easier to recycle compared to magnetic tickets, which require separating the paper and metallic magnetic layer before recycling.


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Photo credit: JR East


Magnetic tickets are expected to continue to be used for mid- to long-distance routes, such as on Shinkansen. When passengers insert magnetic tickets into automatic gates, departure stations and other information stored in the magnetically coated black portion on their back are read while the tickets are carried forward by belts and rollers. The companies said magnetic tickets often get jammed inside automatic gates and that the magnetic layer needs to be removed before recycling. Today, many passengers carry JR East's Suica and other smart cards. Paper tickets are used for less than 10 percent of train rides in the Kanto region, the companies said.



 
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