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Commuters receptive to JR’s innovative new system of keeping carriages cool

16 Comments
By Cara Clegg

Trains in Japan can get pretty hot and sweaty even without the sweltering summer heat mixed in, and some commuters have voiced concerns about the conditions on trains that have to wait at the station for more than the usual barely-enough-time-to-get-on-and-off 30 seconds. However, one of Japan’s major rail companies has come up with an innovative solution to keep passengers a mite cooler.

To keep the cool in their carriages, JR East (East Japan Railway Company) has implemented a new system on their trains departing from stations such as Tokyo and Shinagawa along the Tokaido Line. The usually open doors remain CLOSED before departure, requiring passengers to physically press a button to open the doors and board the train.

Trains starting out from Tokyo Station usually wait at the station for around 10 minutes prior to departure with the doors open so that passengers can hop on and take a seat. According to JR East, people were complaining of hot air in the carriages, and the air conditioning being insufficient. This might sound a bit pathetic, but anyone who’s experienced Japan’s brutally hot and humid summers will no doubt sympathise.

So, starting from Aug 19, passengers were able to manually push a button next to the train door to open them at five stations along the Tokaido Line. JR has also introduced this system onto some trains at Ueno Station, and is deliberating whether to expand it further based on the response from commuters. As well as keeping people from being overwhelmed by the heat, it also has the added bonus of potentially reducing cooling costs and making the trains more environmentally friendly.

Since the implementation, there’s been no confusion reported and commuters seems to be taking to the change like ducks to water.

Source: NHK

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Eight Great Tips for Getting a Seat on Japan’s Crowded Trains -- Commuter Train Operates while Carriage Doors Remain Open -- Illustrated Guide to the 12 Creatures That Haunt the Crowded Trains of Tokyo

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16 Comments
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lucabrasi wrote:

[@Moondog], Sounds like a good idea. How on earth did that earn you five thumbs-down?

Good question! It's up to -6 now. Maybe they don't like the fact that I was in Japan before they were ever born, or something. ;-)

For the record, I first set foot in Japan in 1968, aged 21. WALSTIB!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not sure how much more "setsuden" on the trains I can take...

How about passing on the tightass savings to the commuters? My damn train barely has the air con on most days...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Phew, thank God their innovative way is not using nuclear power. xD

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Moondog

Another thing they should do is implement one-way doors. For example, have to two middle doors for boarding passengers and the two ends for passengers getting off the train. It would reduce the time needed to stop as well as a lot of shoving.

Sounds like a good idea. How on earth did that earn you five thumbs-down?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If this is considered innovative, it just points out that the "norm" is some kind of robot.

Hmmm . . .

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I was trying to figure out what was "innovative" about it, having seen such train cars for many years, although these days mostly in the country. Then it occurred to me that I'd previously only seen the manual door operation option used in the winter, to keep the cars warm. Presumably using the system for keeping the cars cool is what is considered innovative.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Innovative??? This is a joke, right?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think in most of the world ( except metro ) you supposed to press a button to open the door, I was always wondering why they keep em open anyway

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's a very common system in country-side. Another variation of this is to close half of the door, leaving only half open while waiting. What exactly was the innovative part?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's like pasmo or suica... Commonly called an Oyster card. Jdebit cards=switch. The details vary but same basic idea so just an adaption on the theme. Guess its innovative in Japan though where the gaijin world is just a strange fairy tale mythical place.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Trains been equipped with those buttons for some time now. Back home we use a similar system for buses, trains and streetcars, must by now be used for over 4 decades.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Simple but effective.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ummm. Hate to say this but that's not innovative. London tubes have had that button (on the inside) for decades. I guess it's innovative in Japan though.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is not really new. It is a common practice in some places in the countryside during winter, as the cars can get very cold with the heater running. It is so common, that a friend's wife mistakenly tried to open a shinkansen door manually!

I hope this catches on with the cityfolk so they will at least be aware of the concept. I can't count how many times I have had to go close the door after some tourist gets on the train and leaves the door open (and I don't even ride the train that often!)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I've been wondering why they didn't do this for about 25 years.

Another thing they should do is implement one-way doors. For example, have to two middle doors for boarding passengers and the two ends for passengers getting off the train. It would reduce the time needed to stop as well as a lot of shoving.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Innovative? Keeping the doors closed? More like sensible!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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