Nowadays, there are a lot of places which is called "Public transportation blank areas" in various parts of Japan. This "public transportation blank area" is the area located away from 600 meters from the nearest bus stop and 1 km from the railway station, and the residential area is said to be 36,433 square km, which is comparable to the area of the Kyushu district. Therefore, "community bus" is often cited as one of means for solving the vast "public transportation blank area".
Community bus is a public transportation service operated by municipalities to improve the moving environment in the “Public transportation blank areas” which is difficult to maintain life traffic.
As municipalities and other organizations are the majority of operation, it is easier than fixed-route buses to set flexible routes match with each areas’ situation.
For example, community bus can run in slender alley in the residential areas.Therefore, it might be able to improve the quality of life.
Success example of community bus
A successful example of such a community bus is "Mu-bus" which runs around Musashino-city, Tokyo."Mu-bus" is regarded as the first community bus in Japan,in particular to lower the fare from 200 yen to 100 yen in order to promote the use of elderly people.As a result, it was focused because it acquired many users and gain a lot of profit.
Success stories of this "Mu-bus" were ideal for transportation blank areas throughout the country. Also, under the cheap and can use easily fare (100 yen) which is same as "Mu-bus", the number of municipalities trying to improve the transportation convenience of the area which can not be covered by the route bus is increasing.
But the problem of community bus still remain
On the other hand, there may be issues such as relatively few leading companies and organizations that can cover expenses for community buses and other such operations and participation cooperation in depopulated areas. In addition, the success of "Mu-bus" has a special circumstance that the population of Musashino-city is easy to acquire users, it is not always the case that the operation will succeed even in depopulated areas with less population. In fact, despite setting the fare to 100 yen in various places, there are many cases that the number of users did not increase unexpectedly. As a result, the operation was terminated.
Therefore, the community bus can be said to be a way to provide transportation for people living in "traffic blank areas" and community bus supplements the route such as route buses. However, depending on regional differences such as differences in population density, it is not always possible to gain sufficient users to make profits even if inexpensive fare setting is done in all the municipalities. Finally, there are some cases that the management may not go well, so it is necessary to make a mode of operation according to the circumstances of each region.