World at a Glance: Fare adjustment

Tokyo, fare adjustment Tokyo, fare adjustment machine

Haven’t paid sufficient fare for your transport? In Tokyo, you won’t get a fine. Instead there’s fare adjustment machines, or norikoshi seisan-ki.

Usually, when you haven’t paid sufficient fare (or any fare) – whether by mistake or on purpose – chances are, if you do get caught, you’ll have to pay a fine; one which hurts your pocketbook (and possibly your pride) a great deal more than if you had paid the correct fare in the first place. In Norway, for example, if you haven’t paid the correct train fare, you’ll be fined 900 kroner (EUR 110 / USD 150).

Not in Tokyo. If you haven’t paid sufficient for the trip you’ve undertaken, you can’t leave the area without paying the difference. But that’s all you pay. No fine, no humiliation. I’ve never seen this anywhere else and I think it’s a splendid idea. So straightforward, so efficient, and, best of all, so very human and civilised.

The fare adjustment could be paid either at a manned station or via a machine. Out of curiosity we had to give it a try, of course. I purposely paid for a shorter distance than the one we would be travelling. When leaving the station, this gentlemen kindly informed me the payment that remained to be paid on our fare. Very politely, of course.

Have you seen fare adjustment machines outside Japan?


World at a Glance
is a series of short articles here on Sophie’s World, with a single photo (though I decided two were necessary this time) – portraying curious, evocative, happy, sad or wondrous, unexpected little encounters.

Want to see more photos from the quirky world of travel? Then hop over to this week’s Travel Photo Thursday.

23 Responses to “World at a Glance: Fare adjustment”

  1. Muza-chan 13 February 2014 1659 #

    Only in Japan… I think :)
    Muza-chan recently posted..A Japanese Song per Day: Dreams Come True – Love Love Love

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 February 2014 0920 #

      I shouldn’t be surprised :)

  2. Jackie Smith 13 February 2014 2247 #

    What a brilliant idea – we still recall the fine we paid in Venice when we couldn’t buy a ticket because the ticket booth was closed and a local said we could pay on board the taxi boat – yes, we could: paid for a ticket and a fine as well.
    Jackie Smith recently posted..South Pacific: Mo’orea ~ Island of Love

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 February 2014 0921 #

      Not very tourist friendly.

  3. Nancie 14 February 2014 0134 #

    I think we have them in Korea, but not sure how they work. I have a transportation card, and if the card is short I can’t through the turnstile. We have such a short subway route in Daejeon that I think there is only one fare. I will have to check this out the next time I’m in Seoul. Thanks for linking up.
    Nancie recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday – February 13, 2014 – Chiang Mai’s 38th Annual Flower Festival

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 February 2014 0922 #

      I should go to Korea myself and check it out :)

  4. Stephen 14 February 2014 0523 #

    Beautiful. I hate being over charged for a fare. Especially if you just enter a country and are not sure how it works.
    Stephen recently posted..Messy in Munich – Oktoberfest Tips and Travel Guide

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 February 2014 0922 #

      Know what you mean.

  5. Maria 14 February 2014 1411 #

    Wow! That really is straightforward – here’s what’s happened, here’s why and here’s how to fix it.
    Maria recently posted..Waiting for the Number 8

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 18 February 2014 1045 #

      Very efficient.

  6. Marcia 15 February 2014 1340 #

    No polite person telling you you’ve underpaid in Washington DC. If you have, the ticket machine will just spits back out your card – I think there’s a message but I can’t remember – and you go to the Add Fare machine to make up the fee. The machine will say how much you need to add. It used to happen quite a bit when I lived there and it’s happened again on a recent visit. I knew I put in the correct fare based on the fare table but I didn’t remember it was rush hour and had to pay the difference when I got to the other end.

    Thank goodness we don’t have that here in NYC (it would be chaos during rush hour!) where just one fare ($2.50 now) takes you from A-C or A-Z. So convenient, you don’t have to think about it!
    Marcia recently posted..The Italian American Museum in Manhattan’s Little Italy

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 18 February 2014 1056 #

      Interesting to hear about the different systems around the world.

  7. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} 15 February 2014 1605 #

    Even though I’ve traveled the world, I am still such a novice at taking trains. We were completely confused getting to the outer districts in Paris and never seemed to have purchased sufficient fare. Getting it all worked out so that the gates would open to let us exit was so confusing for me. It looks like Japan has a nice, polite way of addressing the problem. Yay for them.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Looking for Wildlife and Homelife on a Borneo River

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 18 February 2014 1106 #

      Public transport in a new city can certainly be confusing.

  8. Tales Told From The Road 17 February 2014 0609 #

    The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) light-rail system in the San Francisco Bay Area has “Add Fare” machines that let you “top off” your ticket before you go through a turnstile if there are enough funds left on it to pay the fare for your trip.
    Tales Told From The Road recently posted..Riding to Reno on the “Motown Snow Train”

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 18 February 2014 1107 #

      Good to hear.

  9. NZ Muse 18 February 2014 0458 #

    I’ve never heard of such a thing! Pretty innovative. Our transport systems here in NZ are pretty far behind.
    NZ Muse recently posted..Top three Couchsurfing moments

  10. NZ Muse 18 February 2014 0459 #

    Yup, getting used to the trains in a new city is always so disorienting!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 20 February 2014 1024 #

      It does take a while.

  11. James Clark 18 February 2014 0825 #

    I’ve only seen this in Tokyo as well but I wish other cities would do it – great idea!
    James Clark recently posted..Tsunami sites in Banda Aceh

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 20 February 2014 1025 #

      Agreed :)

  12. Leigh 20 February 2014 0406 #

    Very cool idea. I am amazed at the price in Norway if you get caught. I wonder how many people even attempt to cheat the system.
    Leigh recently posted..A Winter Visit to Shadow Lake Lodge in Banff National Park

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 20 February 2014 1024 #

      You’d be surprised :)

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