Free shuttle bus service from Naha New Port

Naha City has operated a free shuttle bus service from Naha New Port to Kokusai Street to passengers on large cruise ships from this May. The city implemented the service to alleviate congestion of tourists around the port, as many passengers were left stranded because of insufficient means of transportation.

The service is covered from the city budget through October when the current regular cruise ship port call schedule ends. After that, the Naha Cruise Promotion Coordinating Committee, managed by Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture, and Okinawa Convention Bureau, is scheduled to evaluate the results.

According to Motohiro Naka, the General Manager of Naha Economic and Tourism Division explained to the city council Wednesday that “Genting Dream, a 150,000-ton cruise liner with passenger capacity of 3,400, has visited Naha New Port every week from this April. The ship is the largest premium cruise ship in Asia, and exceeds the size limit of Wakasa Berth.  However, the waiting room for the passengers is one kilometer away from the boarding port, and the ship arrives at around 4 or 5 p.m. that falls on taxi drivers’ exchange hour, which has caused the transportation bottleneck.”

The free shuttle buses are targeted to about 1,000 cruise ship passengers who don’t take sightseeing tours. The shuttles travel from the boarding port to Kokusai Street. There are eight buses with passenger capacity of 45 each that are managed by Naha City, and two buses that are owned and operated by the cruise ship owner company.