Okinawa Urban Monorail carries over 17 million passengers

The Okinawa Urban Monorail Co. carried 17,323,988 passengers in fiscal 2016 that ended Mar. 31st that is 1,167,086 (7.22%) more than the previous year, and the most ever since the monorail connecting Naha Airport to Shuri started in 2003.

The number of passengers increased for the 7th consecutive year, and especially for the last two years the increase has exceeded a million each.

According to a monorail spokesman, the main reasons for the increase have been the good local economy and booming tourism. Especially, many of the increasing numbers of foreign visitors use the monorail.

The average number of passengers per day was 47,463. In their mid/long range business plan, monorail operators expect the number to stay around 42,000 from FY2015 through FY2017, but the results have exceeded the expectations since 2015.

Oct. 9 was the busiest day of 2016, the day of the Great Naha Tug-of-war, when the monorail carried 71,300 passengers. “Kenchoumae” is the busiest station of the line with an average of 6,442 passengers a day.

About 187,000 “OKICA” IC-card tickets were sold by the end of February, and about 40% of passengers use the card to pay for the fare.

According to Urban Monorail Co., “Stations used by tourists seem to have more and more passengers, and this means that many tourists use the monorail. We expect that we will have even more passengers as more low cost carriers increase flight services to Naha bringing more foreign tourists.”