PiTaPa

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PiTaPa logo

PiTaPa (ピタパ Pitapa?) is a contactless smart card ticketing and electronic money system used in the Kansai region (and may also be used in some areas of Okayama Prefecture, Hiroshima Prefecture, and Shizuoka Prefecture) of Japan. The name PiTaPa is an acronym of "Postpay IC for Touch and Pay".[1] As of 2007, the card can be used on 19 train systems and 11 buses, including the Osaka Municipal Subway and New Tram, the Keihan Electric Railway, and the Hankyu Railway.

How to use PiTaPa card

System overview[edit]

PiTaPa is operated by the Surutto KANSAI Conference, along with magnetic pre-paid fare card system Surutto KANSAI. The conference consists of transit companies and bureaus using the system, and is headed by a private company by the name of Surutto KANSAI.

Unlike most other electronic fare collection systems, including JR East's Suica and JR West's ICOCA which operate on a "pre-pay" basis, PiTaPa is a "post-pay" card. Usage of the card is charged to the customer's account, and each month the balance owing is deducted from a designated bank account, as in a charge card. As such, a credit check is required to obtain a PiTaPa card, and the allowable balance is capped. Since June 2006, people over 20 can obtain a card secured by a deposit in lieu of the credit check, although these cards can only be used to pay transport fares or in limited stores, without the electronic money functions of a normal credit card.

Like Suica and ICOCA, the underlying technology behind PiTaPa is Sony's FeliCa smart card system.

Card types[edit]

"PiTaPa Basic Card" is the name given to the PiTaPa cards per se, and are issued by the Surutto KANSAI Conference.

Most traffic companies in the PiTaPa network issue PiTaPa-compatible cards of their brands, either on their own or jointly with other companies. The cards, called "PiTaPa Affiliate Cards" by the Surutto KANSAi Conference, typically are built within credit cards and have special services or discounts offered by its issuers.

Due to heavy marketing of the Affiliate Cards by the individual companies, the Basic Cards only comprise 10-20 percent of all the PiTaPa cards issued as of 2006.

History[edit]

The concept to introduce a smart card fare system in the Kansai region was first announced on July 7, 2001 by the Surutto KANSAI Conference. The Conference initially announced in April 2002 that they are planning to consign operation of the system to Hitachi Ltd. and JCB, but switched to the Japan Research Institute and Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company on July 2003. The name "PiTaPa" was made public on February 25, 2003.

After four months of initial monitor testing, the service officially started on August 1, 2004 with three participating companies: Hankyu, Keihan, and Nose railways. Since then, the network has grown steadily. PiTaPa can be used on the ICOCA system starting on January 21, 2006 (see JR section below).

Companies and bureaus accepting PiTaPa[edit]

As of 2007, the following parties take part in the PiTaPa network. The list is growing rapidly and subject to change.

Railroads[edit]

Company name Name of affiliate card Joined
Hankyu Railway HANA PLUS Card*1 August 1, 2004
STACIA Card October 1, 2007
Nose Railway HANA PLUS Card*1 August 1, 2004
STACIA Card October 1, 2007
Keihan Electric Railway e-kenet PiTaPa August 1, 2004
Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau OSAKA PiTaPa February 1, 2006
Hanshin Electric Railway CoCoNet PiTaPa Card*1 February 1, 2006
STACIA Card October 1, 2007
Osaka Monorail HANA PLUS Card*1 February 1, 2006
STACIA Card October 1, 2007
Kita-Osaka Kyuko Railway HANA PLUS Card*1 February 1, 2006
STACIA Card October 1, 2007
Nankai Electric Railway Nankai Group Card minapita July 1, 2006
Semboku Rapid Railway Nankai Group Card minapita July 1, 2006
Kobe Rapid Railway KOBE PiTaPa July 1, 2006
Kobe New Transit KOBE PiTaPa July 1, 2006
Sanyo Electric Railway KOBE PiTaPa July 1, 2006
Okayama Electric Tramway (no original PiTaPa brand) October 1, 2006
Kobe Municipal Transportation Bureau KOBE PiTaPa October 1, 2006
Hokushin Kyuko Railway KOBE PiTaPa October 1, 2006
Kintetsu KIPS PiTaPa April 1, 2007
Kobe Electric Railway KOBE PiTaPa April 1, 2007
Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau Kyoto+ OSAKA PiTaPa April 1, 2007
Shizuoka Railway LuLuCa+PiTaPa September 1, 2007
  • *1: These names of affiliate card were renamed and merged as "STACIA Card".

Buses[edit]

Company name Name of affiliate card Joined
Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau OSAKA PiTaPa February 1, 2006
Hankyu Bus HANA PLUS Card*1 February 1, 2006
STACIA Card October 1, 2007
Shinki Bus & Shinki Zone Bus (no original PiTaPa brand) February 1, 2006
Osaka Airport Transport (no original PiTaPa brand) October 1, 2006
Okayama Electric Tramway (no original PiTaPa brand) October 1, 2006
Shimotsui Dentetsu (no original PiTaPa brand) October 1, 2006
Ryobi Bus (no original PiTaPa brand) October 1, 2006
Nara Kotsu CI-CA (only for Nara kotsu and NC Bus) April 1, 2007
NC Bus CI-CA (only for Nara kotsu and NC Bus) April 1, 2007
Shizutetsu Just Line LuLuCa+PiTaPa September 1, 2007
Keihan Bus e-kenet PiTaPa October 1, 2007
Keihan Kyoto Kotsu e-kenet PiTaPa March 1, 2008
Takatsuki City Transportation (no original PiTaPa brand) April 1, 2008
Itami City Transportation (no original PiTaPa brand) April 1, 2008
  • *1: These names of affiliate card were renamed and merged as "STACIA Card".

Other cards[edit]

Issuer Name of card Company name
Surutto KANSAI Conference PiTaPa Basic Card Surutto KANSAI Conference
Hankyu Hanshin Card Persona STACIA Card Persona
Takarazuka Revue STACIA Card Takarazuka Revue
Hankyu Hanshin Dai-ichi Hotel Group STACIA Card Hankyu Hanshin Hotels
STACIA+sai-ca Card Bank Of Ikeda
All Nippon Airways ANA PiTaPa Card All Nippon Airways
Sumitomo Mitsui Card Sumitomo Mitsui PiTaPa Card Sumitomo Mitsui Card
Nankai Electric Railway KANKU CLUB Card Kansai International Airport
Kansai Electric Power Happy e PiTaPa Card Kansai Electric Power

JR[edit]

The JR West has its own ICOCA system, which operate on a "pre-pay" basis. PiTaPa can be used in place of an ICOCA card if the user charges money on to the card beforehand.

As of 2009, PiTaPa cannot be used on the JR East's Suica system, nor Suica on PiTaPa. This has caused some confusions among users who assert that, since PiTaPa operates on the ICOCA system and since Suica and ICOCA are (virtually) interchangeable, PiTaPa must be accepted by JR East although that is not the case. However, the involving companies have announced in 2004 that they are preparing to integrate the three systems.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]