Japanese train firms ditching magnetic tickets for QR codes

Rail operators in and around Tokyo have announced plans to replace magnetic tickets with QR codes for journeys on their local services. The move comes as rechargeable IC cards have become by far the most common choice for travelers.

Eight companies, including East Japan Railway, jointly announced the initiative. They plan to abolish their magnetic tickets in phases from fiscal 2026.

Demand for paper tickets with magnetic backing has slumped rapidly. The companies say they accounted for around 35 percent of the total in 2007, but that has since declined to roughly 5 to 10 percent.

The change will also reduce the burden on the environment as it's difficult to recycle magnetic tickets due to the metallic compounds they contain.