Whether to increase or decrease number of trains during rush hours for COVID-19 prevention?
The timetable revisions of railway companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area scheduled for this spring have different responses to the prolonged pandemic.
In anticipation of a decrease in the number of passengers during the rush hours to work, JR East and others will have turned to reduce the number of trains in service, but some companies are increasing or maintaining the number to avoid congestion in the trains.
"Reducing the number of trains (we need to keep) is a huge factor in reducing costs", Fukasawa Yuji, president of JR East, said at a press conference last November.
The company plans to reduce the number of trains in service during commuting hours (6 am to 9 am) by 6% in March on 16 routes such as Yamanote Line and Tokaido Line.
JR East's transportation revenue from April to September last year was 512.4 billion yen. Due to the drastic decrease in the number of passengers, it dropped to 54% of the same period of 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic.
Tobu Railway will also reduce the number of Sky Tree Line in commuting hours by 10%.
On the other hand, Bureau of Transportation Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which operates subway lines, explained that "some passengers are shifting from the peak of congestion to the early morning," and will increase the number of Toei Shinjuku Line during the rush hours.
Tokyo Metro and Tokyu Corporation have a policy of not reducing the number of trains operated during commuting hours, saying that there is a possibility of congestion.
This article is composed using Google Translate customized exclusively for The Chunichi Shimbun. The translation may have limited accuracy.