Thursday, 1 December 2016

How to: Suicle(スイクル) Bicycle Rental

Suicle lets you borrow a bicycle from at the train station with your IC card. Rates for registered users can be as low as ¥100 per hour. An ad-hoc, 'visitor/ビジター' rental is ¥500 for a whole day. At time of writing, Suicle is available at Musashi-Sakai/武蔵境, Higashi-Koganei/東小金井, Musashi-Koganei/武蔵小金井, and Kunitachi/国立 stations.

You will need:
  • An IC card, e.g. a Suica or Pasmo with at least ¥500 loaded;
  • A Japanese mobile number. This is a potential show-stopper as mobile numbers are a hassle to get in Japan. They probably insist on this so they can trace phone numbers back to people and their addresses if a bicycle goes missing.

The website is typically all cutesy marketing fluff and no guides, let alone anything useful in English. Let's walk through an ad-hoc rental I did today:


Pre-Registration

Walk up to the machine and touch the screen. Choose the middle '登録/Tōroku/Registration' button.
Choose the top button (ビジター...)
Press '同意する/Dōi suru/I agree' to continue.
Press '同意する/Dōi suru/I agree' to pass the EULA.
Enter your name (or whatever you like, it doesn't matter.) Then press 次へ/tsugi e/next.
Enter your mobile number Then press 次へ/tsugi e/next.
Press 仮登録/Kari tōroku/Register at the confirmation screen.
An SMS is on its way! Wait until you get the SMS and the screen changes. (Ignore the huge queue that's formed behind you. Press 本登録へ/Hon tōroku e/Main Registration.

Registration

The SMS you received should contain an ID and Password. Enter your ID, press 次へ.
Enter your password, press 次へ.
You'll need to hold your card at 2 card readers.
At the 'Touch' panel:
Then at the payment panel:
I recommend pressing the 領収書あり/Print Receipt button so that you know the transaction is finished.

Check Out

Go to the ビジター section and choose a bike.
Put the front wheel in between the brackets so that its onboard NFC can be scanned.
The machine will request your IC card. Hold it up to the reader.
The gates will open and you can ride off!

Check In

  • Take the bicycle to the gates like you did at check-out so that its onboard NFC can be scanned.
  • The gates will open and you can park it back at the ビジター section.

Last Words

Given Suicle's limited applicability, why post an English guide?
Because there is a Regional Immigration Bureau in between Kunitachi station and Tachikawa station. Suicle cuts a 30 minute walk to a 10 minute cycle. This post will be a handy reference for my next visit. Hopefully it can help other 外人/gaijin/foreigners out too.

Why not register?
I don't like disclosing my phone number, name, and IC card to the same source. If I were using Suicle more often I might consider it.

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