'Friendly' Buses for Foreign Tourists...
Wednesday, February 9, 2005 Posted: 10:29 AM JST
The Cities of Kyoto, Nara and Osaka have recently launched 'experiments for bus transport friendly to foreign tourists'. It is financed by subsidies of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport created in fiscal 2004 to make Japan into a tourism nation.
In the experiments, buses that run on routes specially designated as 'recommended routes for tourism' are in a special 'wrapping'. This must distinguish them from ordinary coaches to encourage their use by foreign tourists. In addition to announcements in the coaches, signs at the bus stops and notice boards are in English, Chinese and Korean. The project will also distribute tourism maps and guidebooks that are easy to understand.
Kyoto City is operating three routes in the experiment as 'Raku Buses'. Nara calls its route 'Round the World Heritage Buses'. Osaka operates two routes, named 'Rupo' and 'Yellow Eight.' All of these routes can also be used by people other than foreign tourists.
The Japanese government is planning to present a bill to revise the law designed to attract foreign tourists in the current diet session. It wants to make foreign-language signs in notice boards mandatory and to create a new system of guide-interpreters certified by prefectural governors. Under the present system guide-interpreters are certified by the central government. The government hopes to put the new law into effect in April 2006.
For inquiries, please contact First Passenger Transport Division, Kinki District Transport Bureau (Tel: 06-6949-6445)
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