Riding the Rails

Last week, a system problem at Tokyo Metro Co., which operates the capital's largest subway network, and East Japan Railway Co., Japan's largest rail operator caused both of their electronic ticket gates to fail for several hours. As a result, several hundred thousand morning commuters rode the rails for free.

Nippon Signal Co., the maker of the gates, has not determined the cause of the malfunction, although a communication problem was suspected as the cause. It was the second time these electronic gates malfunctioned. Last December, the ticket gates wouldn't accept Suica (smart card) commuter passes as payment.

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