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Japan Train Service

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Sat 2009/10/03 20:16 JST
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When I first arrived in Japan, I noticed that from time to time that there would be a train attendant handing out something when the train arrived late.

Had a look into what it was and to my surprise it was an official certificate for passengers to show to their boss as proof that the train was late.
These days, the "late-train-certificates" are issued online like this one which proves that the Chuo line was running 10 mins late between the hours of 7 and 9AM. The photo of a poster above informs passengers that they can get their certificates online.
This page at JR shows which of their lines are running late and by how many minutes.

For the majority of the time, trains in Japan are spot on - the arrival times are so accurate that you can set your watch by them.

The train service provides help for folks in wheelchairs by preparing a ramp to get on the train. They will also get a member of staff to wait for the wheelchair passenger at the destination station - they will know exactly which carriage/door and be waiting at the other end as they know exactly what time the train will arrive.

Another example of the fine service they have here was when I left a new mobile phone on the train.
I only realized that I forgot my phone when I got off at my station. I went to a member of staff and let them know. They made a few calls and minutes later, they told me that they found the phone and told me to go to the next station to get it.

The only problems I have on the train is during rush hour - its something like this video taken last week on the Chuo line. I remember actually being in pain once on the Yamanote line - ribs were being crushed.

Whats it like using the train service in your kingdom? One thing I certainly don't miss about living in the UK - London Underground. The service was atrocious. You never know if the trains are actually running until you reach the station to find a note asking you to "seek alternative methods of transport."
There would often be strikes too. I remember a time when the driver announced to his passengers something like "London underground don't know how to run trains." Whats it like back there now?

Have to give London Underground some credit though - was one of the first undergound train systems in the world I think.

Tokyo · CEO Mirai Inc
http://www.dannychoo.com/profile

Director for Culture Japan. Creator of Mirai Suenaga. Member of the Japanese governments METI CIIC.
経済産業省クリエイティブ産業国際展開懇談会委員。
テレビ番組カルチャージャパンのディレクターと司会。
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