East Japan Railway Co. on Wednesday began testing new ticket gates in Tokyo that can be accessed using QR codes to make travel smoother for those without its Suica IC prepaid travel cards such as foreign tourists or visitors from rural regions.
The two new gates, tested in Shinjuku Station, utilize a QR code scanner which is twice as large as existing QR scanners developed by Denso Wave Inc.
It can read a code downloaded via a smartphone or printed on paper 1.5 times faster than the existing system, according to the railway operator known as JR East.
The company aims to spare those without Suica from having to purchase tickets at stations.
The gates will retain separate scanners for Suica cards but will not accept physical tickets, unlike some existing Suica gates. The new gates are a step toward the company's goal of eliminating physical tickets in the future.
From next Tuesday, the machines will also be tested in Takanawa Gateway Station, which was newly opened in March, by passengers including wheelchair users and those who are visually impaired to assess its usability.
The tests will be held until the end of September and the machines will be removed after the trial, according to JR East.