Thursday, 13 August 2015

Free Bus Ride In Japan

Japan has good bus services. It is the most difficult transport system for foreign travellers to use, so is usually underutilized. Stops are often written only in Kanji. So learn the kanji for your destinations. Have pictures of them on your phone. Ask the driver to tell you when to get off. 

Depending on the city, payment may be required when you get on, or not until you get off. In some cities, there's a flat fee regardless of distance traveled. In the other cities, you take a ticket as you board that has a zone number, which is your starting point. When you exit the bus, a sign at the front of the bus shows the fare charged for each starting zone number. You just have to pay the driver the fare that matches your zone number, by putting the ticket and your money into a fare box. There may be a change machine near the front of the bus that can change 100 yen coins, 500 yen coins and 1000 yen notes. Some buses require you pay when you board. 

The buses I ride in the suburbs of Osaka cannot change 10,000 yen notes. One day I boarded the bus with only a 10,000 yen note and found out how to ride for free. The driver could not change it, and he let me ride the bus for free. One time I found myself without change, an old man paid my ticket, and then proceeded to complain to me for the whole journey about how I should always bring change. Keep in mind if you present a 10,000 yen note, the driver can refuse you entry to the bus.

The bus around the inner city of Osaka is a great way to sight-see. It will take you down streets that you would never see if you just rode the subway. The suburban buses are harder to use, and run less frequently. Make sure to plan your trip carefully before boarding a bus.

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