JR East System Failure Leaves Suica App Users Stranded at Ticket Gates

The Yomiuri Shimbun
An error messege of the Mobile Suica app is displayed on a smartphone.

JR East announced on Saturday that the system failure earlier the day that had prevented Mobile Suica app users from charging electric train fare money to their smartphones and the use of credit cards at JR East ticket offices had been restored around 1pm.

East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) said a system failure meant commuters were unable to pay for journeys with the Mobile Suica app or digital wallets and people planning trips were unable to reserve tickets online on Saturday.

The outage also affected credit card transactions at JR ticket offices and machines.

The glitch started at about 12:35 a.m. and was due to a power failure in a system server, JR East said.

Credit card transactions had resumed at JR ticket offices and machines by about 10 a.m., and cashless app transactions were working by about 1 p.m.

Pasmo, another e-money service that can be used on public transport in the Tokyo metropolitan area, also had problems from about 12:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Bemused travelers were seen at JR Tokyo Station’s ticket machines on Saturday morning before the problems had been resolved.

“Cashless payment services are widespread. I’m glad I have some cash with me now,” said a 45-year-old from Minato Ward, Tokyo, who bought a Shinkansen train ticket to Shin-Osaka Station.