“Wakasa Liner”, Joint Operation by Fukui Railway and Kintetsu Railway
On March 2nd, Fukui Railway (headquartered in Fukui Prefecture’s Echizen City) announced that the “Wakasa Liner”, a highway bus service connecting Fukui Prefecture’s Obama City and Osaka, will have its final operating day on May 10th, ending the service from the 11th and onwards.
Service began on the route in September 2003 with six round-trip buses in a day, coinciding with the Wakasa-ji Exhibition, which took place in the Kawasaki district of Obama City. From then the number of round-trip buses went down to four from November 2013, and then to two from April 2016, and maintained in cooperation with the Kintetsu Bus Company.
During the past ten years, one bus would carry 10 to 14 passengers. The decision to end the service was based upon a multitude of factors including not reaching the profitable minimum of 17-18 passengers per trip, the low probability of the increase in passengers, the lack of drivers, and the increasing wear of the vehicles. On May 10th, the final bus from Michi-no-Eki Wakasa Obama will depart at 5:57 p.m., and the final bus from Osaka-Namba will depart from 6:10 p.m.
“We considered the continuation of the service, while keeping the 2023 spring opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Tsugura in mind, as extending the service up to Tsuruga; however, with no hope for profit, we had to abandon such plans,” expressed Fukui Railway in a statement.
“It’s very unfortunate. For when the Hokuriku Shinkansen Tsuruga opens in 2023, we hope to work on reconsidering the transportation services for tourists to use from Tsuruga to Obama, and up to Maizuru,” said Satoshi Kakuno, Chief of the Obama City Hokuriku Shinkansen-Integrated Transportation Promotion Department.