ICHIKAWA, JAPAN - Aiming to provide foreign visitors to Japan with comfortable bus transport services, Keisei Bus Co., Ltd. is promoting the use of multiple languages, mainly on board vehicles, at bus stops and in attending customers.
Tourism-related demand from overseas visitors for Keisei Bus services has been on the rise in recent years as the company operates "Tokyo Shuttle", which connects Narita Airport with Tokyo Station, and other express bus services that link sightseeing spots including "Tokyo Disney Resort (R)". Additionally, Keisei Bus operates buses on fixed routes centered around train stations in the eastern part of Tokyo and the northwestern part of Chiba Prefecture.
In response to this trend, Keisei Bus is taking the following initiative to "accommodate multiple languages in bus transport services" to help foreign visitors in Japan feel secure when they ride our bus.
1. Official website (since March 2017)
The whole of our official website is designed to be read in English, Chinese and Korean to help you check bus routes and tips on how to ride a bus before traveling.
2. Bus stops (since February 2016)
All the bus stops (about 2,000 in total) have signage in English. Major bus stops, including those on the routes originating at airports and "Tokyo Disney Resort (R)", also have signage in Chinese and Korean. In addition, pictograms are in place to help you recognize bus stops at a glance.
At Kasai Rinkai Koen (Kasai Seaside Park), a bus stop on the fixed "Shuttle Seven" routes between train stations in Tokyo and "Tokyo Disney Resort (R)", digital signage is installed in English, Chinese and Korean to provide such information as tips on how to ride a bus, bus operations, tourist facilities and others.
3. On board vehicles
(1) Free Wi-Fi connectivity (since November 2016)
Free Wi-Fi connectivity in six languages - Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Thai and Portuguese -- has been made available on all express buses.
(2) Onboard signs/announcements (since February 2016)
"Liquid crystal displays" that show destinations, major stops and other locations are being adapted to English, Chinese and Korean. Onboard announcements are also made in English to tell passengers the next stop.
4. Attending customers
(1) Training drivers how to attend foreign visitors (since October 2016) In active training sessions, bus drivers learn English conversation from foreign teachers and use "Finger-pointing Sheets", which show Japanese words and phrases alongside their translations in other languages.
(2) Introducing interpreter service with the use of smartphones (since February 2017)
Drivers on express buses are making good use of smartphones equipped with an interpreting service app. When attending a customer, the driver may call up the interpreter/operator via this app to provide appropriate support. This service is available in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese.
Keisei Bus will continue to make efforts to improve the convenience of bus transport services so that all customers can use the bus comfortably.