Launch of Trial Operation for Social Implementation of an On-Demand Transit Service in Ishikari City

Sep. 01, 2023
Marubeni Corporation

Marubeni Corporation (hereinafter, “Marubeni”) will launch a seven-month trial operation for social implementation of an on-demand transit service in Ishikari City, Hokkaido, Japan, from September 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024. The trial operation will utilize the framework of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s “Demonstration Project for Regional Transportation Co-Creation Model”.

Ishikari City plays an indispensable role in the industrial and distribution sectors of Hokkaido due to its proximity to Sapporo City, and the important harbor location of Ishikari Bay New Port, alongside the 3,000 ha Ishikari Bay New Port Area. There are currently more than 700 companies located in the Ishikari Bay New Port Area, with more than 20,000 employees working there during the day. However, less than 2% of these employees use public transportation when commuting to work, with most relying on privately-owned vehicles (about 68%) and buses individually arranged by local companies (about 30%). In this context, the introduction of new public transportation services has become a significant challenge for the city. In urban areas (such as city centers), the number of bus users as well as the number of bus services has been on the decline.

On-demand transportation is a new type of transportation service that has been attracting attention in recent years as a transportation framework combining the convenience of taxis with the efficiency of public buses by utilizing IoT and AI technologies.

Marubeni launched a six-month trial operation from October 2022 to March 2023 in Ishikari City, to test two services: the “Commuter On-Demand” service for commuting to the Ishikari Bay New Port Area, and the “City On-Demand” service for travel within the city center. User comments included “My commuting time was greatly reduced,” “I wish the service would operate on Saturdays and Sundays,” and “I was able to get around because of ‘Itsumo’*,” with over 90% of users of both Commuter On-Demand and City On-Demand indicating their satisfaction with the services. Based on these results, as part of the current demonstration project, on-demand services will be expanded in terms of operation days and hours, coverage area, number of services, and number of vehicles.

The Demonstration Project for Regional Transportation Co-creation Model is an initiative whereby multiple entities work together to maintain and revitalize regional public transportation by integrating transportation with local lifestyles. Marubeni will form a co-creation platform with local shopping malls, medical facilities, and local businesses that are responsible for creating a safe and secure transportation environment for the elderly, and aim to introduce sustainable transportation services in the local community as a means to fulfilling the needs of the citizens of Ishikari City and those employed at the Ishikari Bay New Port Area.

Name of Service:
*Itsumo is an acronym created using the concept for the service of: “Itsudemo Tsunagaru Mobility”—which can be translated into English as “always-connected mobility.” The below service logo will be displayed on the vehicles in operation and deployed in the dedicated smartphone app for users.

Overview of the Trial Operation:
The Trial Operation will involve the provision of two services: “Commuter On-Demand” transportation for commuting to the Ishikari Bay New Port Area, and “City On-Demand” transportation for traveling within the city. Both services can be reserved and used from the same Itsumo App, while reservations can also be completed by phone for the City On-Demand service only.

Details of each service:

Commuter On-Demand operation route info_230901_En_left

City On-Demand operation area info_230901_En_right

Related Release:
Sep. 29, 2022
Trial Operation of an On-Demand Transit Service in Ishikari City Launches