Toyota, public transport operator Nishi-Nippon Railroad Co. Ltd. (Nishitetsu), and multiple local partners, have begun full-scale operation of a Toyota-developed multi-modal Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) offering in two Japanese cities.
The partners have launched the ‘My Route’ smartphone application in Fukuoka City and Kitakyushu City in collaboration with multiple local transport, shopping, and event information service providers. The project will also be expanded to include Shinkansen (bullet) and conventional train services offered by the Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu). Toyota and Nishitetsu began trials of the My Route app in Fukuoka in November 2018, through which they aimed to verify the viability of multi-modal mobility services, understand areas for improvement, and provide more convenient services for residents and tourists. With the app downloaded about 30,000 times during the one-year trial period, and about 80% of survey respondents saying they were ‘satisfied’ after using it, the service proved to be popular and commercially viable. Following the successful pilot, the service has started full-scale operation, with the coverage area expanded to now include Kitakyushu.
The My Route MaaS system includes three main components:
- Multi-modal route search – Displays route options, combining various modes of transport including public transport (such as bus, rail, and subway), automobiles (such as taxis, rental cars, car sharing, and private vehicles), bicycles, and walking. Also displays the real-time location of Nishitetsu route buses and parking lot status information;
- Reservations and payments – Enables reservation and payment for taxis, and purchase of Nishitetsu Bus and Train digital One-day Passes, providing a seamless service from reservation through to use in one app. In addition to Toyota Share being available on the app before the end of 2019, and Toyota Wallet support will also be added to provide payment options to suit each customer;
- Shop and event information search – Provides information on unique-to-Fukuoka events, shops, and sightseeing spots while suggesting options for outings and improving navigation. Kitakyushu tourist information is also provided.
The participating companies’ roles in the partnership are:
- Toyota is in charge of development and operation of the My Route app and payments platform, while it also provides information about Toyota’s Rent-a-Car and car share services.
- Nishitetsu is in charge of providing positional information for buses it operates, and information on Nishitetsu Group shops and events, while it also sells app-only digital passes for buses and trains. Before the end of 2020, it is also planning to start offering app-based QR code coupons in collaboration with various commercial establishments;
- JR Kyushu is in charge of providing operation information and an online booking service for all its trains, and plans to further expand the collaboration in the future;
- Navitime Japan Co. Ltd has jointly developed the multi-modal route search engine;
- Akippa Inc. provides parking lot status and reservation services;
- JapanTaxi Co. Ltd. offers taxi dispatch, reservation and payment;
- Neuet Inc. provides a shared bicycle service.
Going forward, the My Route app service will become even more convenient through further collaborations with city authorities in Fukuoka and Kitakyushu, and other businesses in the area. In addition to the core partnership, further non-public transport options will also be improved with a planned collaboration with Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo Co. Ltd.’s taxi booking service planned for spring 2020, along with long-distance highway bus travel.