EAST JAPAN Railway passengers began using their mobile telephones as contactless smart card tickets from January 28.

Owners of certain models of telephone handset and JR East’s View credit card can install software from the railway’s website. This allows passengers to use their mobile phones to pay for goods and services at shops, restaurants and vending machines, and to leave bags at luggage lockers.

JR East plans to charge an annual membership fee for the service, but upgrading to green car (first class) accommodation is available with a discount for Mobile Suica customers. Instead of queuing to add credit to the stored value cards at ticket offices and machines, passengers can use the mobile telephone network to put money into their account. n