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Bus riders discover new, higher fares

Date Posted: 2008-12-31

People riding Naha City and urban district buses were shocked this week to reach for the fare box, only to discover the prices have jumped ¥20 yen and more for a ride.

The new fares, the first rate increase by Okinawa Prefecture bus companies in ten years, went into effect December 22nd, boosting the basic Naha City area fare from ¥160 to ¥180. Urban routes, such as from Naha City to Itoman City climbed ¥60 to ¥560, prompting dozens of questions from commuters about new prices for regular monthly coupon tickets and commuter tickets.

Passengers are upset. One worker traveling from Ginowan City to Naha city daily uses a regular monthly coupon, which has increased from ¥17,000 to ¥20,000. “Our salaries never go up, but all kinds of costs of living go up,” said one exasperated passenger. “If this continues much longer, we can’t live.”

A bus company director defended the rate increases, noting “we have cut our expenses and tried our best, but we couldn’t stop the price of oil going up.” He said bus parts prices have gone up, too, and “there was no choice, we just needed to raise fares.”

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