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Japan Power

Japan is Testing USB Phone Charging Stations in Public Transport Buses (thenextweb.com) 71

According to Japanese news outlet IT Media, a public transport bus in the Tokyo area has introduced, and is currently testing, USB charging stations for commuter phones and tablets. From a report: While the local Bureau of Transportation hasn't formally announced or confirmed the trials, numerous passengers so far have reported seeing the charging ports. The service runs free of charge, with at least five of these wall-mounted charging hotspots placed inside the bus. According to reports, the service is currently available solely in a single bus. It remains unclear how long testing will continue or whether it will eventually roll out to more buses. Japan isn't the only country to have offered phone charging stations in public transport vehicles. Last September, London also equipped a limited number of busses with USB chargers. Similarly, Singapore ran trials with wall-mounted phone chargers on at least 10 buses in September last year.
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Japan is Testing USB Phone Charging Stations in Public Transport Buses

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    We've had those for in quite a few buses for a year or so.

    • by Lorens ( 597774 )

      Same in Barcelona, I just noticed them today.

    • Same with Tulsa, Oklahoma...which that and really comfortable stations appears to be the only two things Tulsa's ahead of the curve on transit-wise.
  • Fun to see public USBs rise in popularity with credit card skimmers. At least we're all smart enough to use USB condoms, right?
    • Precisely this. My first thought when reading the headline was the follow-up article: 'Japanese Hackers Testing USB Phone Attacks at Charging Stations in Public Transport Buses'.

      There should be a USB condom with an identifier or specialised port that is required to use the USB chargers, and condoms should be supplied.

  • Is this news? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Here in the UK all modern buses has charging ports. I even advised my son on how to make a charge only cable so they couldn't be used to inject malware onto his devices.

  • USB charging ports on one bus in Japan. What will they think of next? Devices attached to the seats on which a person can rest their arms? Texturing on the floor to prevent a person from slipping if their shoes are wet? Electrically operated devices affixed to the interior of the bus that emit photons so people can see when it's night time?

    Slashdot, please keep us abreast of such groundbreaking advancements!

  • by Henriok ( 6762 ) on Friday January 20, 2017 @12:01PM (#53703985)
    Wow! Almost all new buses built the past few years have USB ports for charging, at least in western Sweden where the Volvo buses are built. What is there to test? Just do it!
  • USB charging ports on public transport has been in place all over the world for a long time. Why is anyone interested?
  • Ive seen this in plenty of busses in Greater Copenhagen.

    I dont quite trust strange USB ports enough to actually plug my phone into one tho.

  • I was on a Stagecoach bus recently in the UK and they had a USB charging port placed fairly low between each set of two seats (plus ports on the side below the window for the front sets of seats). I believe their fleet refit in late 2016 added them in. Apart from nicer (faux?) leather seats, the new bus also had *much* better onboard free wi-fi than their previous generation of buses too. A shame no-one but me ever seems to use the free wi-fi on the bus though!

    • In New Zealand, Auckland Transport updated their requirements for new buses that all operators of AT services must follow in 2015. One requirement was that USB ports must be installed in at least every second row (on each side), other requirements include wifi and monitors showing up to date route information an announcements. With all the contracts being re-tendered between the end of last year and early next year about half of all buses will have these features bythe end of next year. These are local b

  • Why not wireless? It eliminates the USB hacking concern. But there is more...no cable breakage, tangling, connector problems.

    • How many competing standards are there for wireless charging? You can be an early loser (the 67% + accurate spelling of "early adopter") on this. I'm perfectly content to let you waste your money on a system that gets dropped. I'll wait until I can't count the number of global "wireless charging innovation" billion pound bankruptcies without taking my shoes off.
  • Denver has had USB charging on its regional buses for over a year now.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    NYC introduced a whole fleet of buses with USB charging ports (and WiFi) in May 2016.

  • It's going to be hilarious when all the new MacBook owners have finished converted everything to USB-C and then realize they can't plug things into a bus without a dongle.

  • If this sort of thing becomes commonplace, my recommendation to you all is to get a charge-only USB cable for your phone, i.e. one that does not have the Data pair connected. Unless, of course, you really don't care if your phone gets hacked. Technology like this could easily be subverted, either by governments or by criminal organizations, to become attack vectors against unsuspecting smartphone owners.

    If you can't find a 'charge only' USB cable, you can make your own easily enough out of a normal USB cab
    • A charge-only USB cable won't protect your phone from a rogue device placed on the bus by a miscreant designed to send 10,000 Volts through the cable.
      • First of all, 10kV would possibly arc across the air-gap in a USB connector, and secondly, I'd think it much more likely criminal organizations would like to hijack your phone for fun and profit, and not so much that some asshole would like to destroy people's phones. But by all means just avoid them entirely if that's what you're comfortable with.
  • Why it took so long?

    Why is it not available in more public places?

  • Security Vector Alert. It seems to me that public UBS charging ports are a way for security vulnerabilities to be spread amongst the popululation. I assume that someone is already working on a way to implant malware in those ports. It's like kissing everyone in the city during an Ebola epidemic.

  • Build a small raspberry pi machine that is programmed to install spyware on any phone connecting to it via usb port. Also steal as much data as it could and broadcast it via wifi to the mother ship. Pack it nicely, slap stickers saying "Free courtesy phone charging outlet from Port Authority of New York. (To make it useful to more commuters this outlet is programmed to stop charging after 30 minutes. Please disconnect in 30 minutes. Thank you for your cooperation)". Leave it plugged into outlets at various
  • All I see is another piece of useful technology that would never survive in North America, because we can't have nice things.

    If this was made available in the US, I would give it a month before people started using USB killers, or suing the city for a million dollars and claiming it somehow 'broke' their phone.

  • The much vaunted Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is still stuck in the 20th century as far as fare collection, let alone having charging stations or mobile hotspots. But then Trump is going to make everything ... just great. It'll be just great. Puke!
  • DC Connector buses have USB ports of them. Not just one bus, multiple. The standard WMATA buses don't yet have it though.

    • by strstr ( 539330 )

      road a megabus from DC to Pittsburgh or possibly Pittsburgh to DC- the bus had USB ports located above head of each passenger.

      seems like the features installed on the latest model buses.

      obamasweapon.com [obamasweapon.com]

  • So are trips on the bus in Japan a waste of time time or do their phones have insufficient battery capacity?

C for yourself.

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