January 21, 2019

Tokyo Motivates Transit Use, Encourages Off~Peak Commuter Travel


I have been writing about the importance of making public transit fun and accessible and the dearth of publicly accessible washrooms on the Metro Vancouver transit system. There does seem to be a breakthrough and universally accessible washrooms and (gasp) free internet  are being considered this year. No surprise that in surveys 72 percent of people said that public washrooms would make the transit system better.

But how do you motivate people NOT to use a system at peak hours? Intelligent Health UK has a Beat The Street program that offered incentives for school children who would get off London’s Underground a stop earlier and walk the last distance to school. And as The Telegraph reports  The Tokyo Metro Company will ease peak time overcapacity by giving commuters coupons for a soba noodle bowl  if they  take earlier trains before peak hours for ten days in a row.

And here’s the best part~Tokyo Metro’s noodles are an opt-in deal and require 2,000 people to sign up. If 3,000 people go on earlier trains, Tokyo Metro will add tempura to the coupons available.

How crowded is the Tokyo Metro?

Between 7:50 a.m. and 8:50 a.m the Tozai line carries 70,000 people, nearly 200 percent overcapacity. Tokyo also suffers from the same platform issues as the Expo Line~extra train cars could be added, but it would require extensive upgraded platform lengths at each station along the system.

 “We hope the campaign will contribute to reducing congestion during peak hours as more people take trains at different times,” said Takahiro Yamaguchi, a spokesman for Tokyo Metro. We are aware that the Tozai Line is chronically overcrowded, which has caused passengers trouble,” added Mr Yamaguchi.


Here’s a YouTube video illustrating the crowds at rush hour on a Tokyo commuter train.


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