JR East, West will cut commuter traffic next year amid a pandemic

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East Japan Railway Co., which serves the Tokyo metropolitan area, and West Japan Railway Co., which operates in the western region, will cut trains during the morning rush hour next year after the coronavirus pandemic declines Has led passengers.

Railroad companies across Japan are adjusting their services due to the decline in passenger numbers and changes in passenger lifestyles as the coronavirus spreads.

People wait on a platform when a train arrives at Shibuya Station in Tokyo on October 25, 2021. (Kyodo)

The East Japan Railway, known as JR East, will cut traffic on 16 lines in the Tokyo area by one to four trains an hour from March, including the Yamanote Line, which connects the capital’s busiest train stations.

On its Shinkansen bullet trains, JR East will reduce the number of regularly operated trains by 25 to 324, the largest reduction since the company was founded when the national railway company was privatized in 1987.

JR West will also cut line traffic from March by cutting trains and shortening service routes, including those in the Osaka metropolitan area.

With around 500 regular trains, this is the largest service overhaul since JR West was founded in 1987, according to the company.

Similarly, the Tobu Railway Co., which also serves the Tokyo area, said its services would start running in March during the morning rush hour.

Other western Japanese railroad companies like Hankyu Hanshin Holdings Inc. are also considering reducing the number of trains that run at peak times due to the pandemic.

Hankyu Hanshin chairman Kazuo Sumi told Kyodo News in a recent interview, “We would check timetables to meet demand,” but did not mention a specific number of rush hour trains that should be canceled.

“If we reduce the number of trains at peak times, we can also reduce the number of trains we have to hold, which will benefit our businesses,” he said, highlighting the importance of cutting costs.

In September, Keihan Electric Railway Co. adjusted its weekday schedules to reduce the number of trains during the morning and evening peak hours.


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