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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — There’s no such thing as a free ride at Yokota, at least not to Narita International Airport or the New Sanno Hotel in downtown Tokyo.

Starting April 1, prices for Yokota’s airport shuttle service will increase by as much as $10, while the previously free shuttle service to the New Sanno will now cost $5 for military identification card holders and $7 for non-I.D. card holders.

“The last price increase on any of our shuttles was over five years ago,” said Justin Lucas, a spokesman for the 374th Services Division. “During that time, the cost of providing these shuttles has increased exponentially.”

Increased gas prices, labor and repair costs, insurance costs and the price of new vehicles are among the many reasons for the price hikes, he said.

“Being a non-appropriated fund organization, we are required by established Air Force guidance to maintain financial stability in order to stay in business,” he said. “The fee increases were a last resort in order to keep from having to scale back services and programs to meet the Air Force established requirements.”

With the changes, the price for a one-way fare to Narita will increase from $25 to $35, and a round-trip will jump from $30 to $40. The fare for the shuttle going from Narita to the New Sanno will go from $20 to $30.

For military ID cardholders going on leave, Services offers lower Narita fares on tickets that must be bought in advance at the Vehicle Operations office. But these fares have increased as well, from $15 to $20 dollars for adults and from $7 to $10 for children. To qualify, customers must bring a copy of their leave orders or leisure travel itinerary, Lucas said.

Lucas added that the services division has no plans to alter the bus schedule or decrease the number of scheduled trips.

The East Japan Railway Company also offers express train service to Narita Airport, with ticket prices ranging from 2,940 yen (about $25) to 5,990 (about $51), depending on location and type of train car.

For more information, go to www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/index.html.

Narita shuttles from other bases

Shuttle services to Narita are offered at bases throughout the Kanto Plain.

At both Yokosuka Naval Base and Naval Air Facility Atsugi, the cost of the bus ride for personnel who are traveling on official orders is paid for in the orders by the command, explained spokesmen for both facilities Tuesday. Those not on orders ride for free on a space available basis.

Camp Zama offers a similar free shuttle service, which is run by the base transportation office.

Because of the space available nature of the shuttle services, base representatives advise customers to make reservations in advance.

To make reservations for airport shuttle service call:

Yokota: 225-7720Camp Zama: 263-3772Yokosuka: 243-7777 or 243-2287Atsugi: 264-3563 or 264-3900— Bryce Dubee

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