national

Narita Express train doors fail to open for 30 seconds after conductor dozes off

50 Comments

A conductor on a train on the JR Narita Express, operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East), failed to open the doors on the train after he dozed off.

According to JR East, the incident occurred just after 12 noon on Saturday, Fuji TV reported. The train arrived on time at Tokyo Station from Narita Airport, but the doors failed to open. Another conductor arrived to start his shift and found the conductor dozing. The doors remained closed for 30 seconds before the new conductor opened them.

The conductor, who dozed off, is in his 40s. JR East said he told them he wasn't feeling well and that he had taken some medicine before starting work. He said it was the voice of the conductor who came to replace him that woke him up.

JR East said the conductor doesn't know how long he was asleep and can't remember anything after the train left Chiba Station, which would mean he may have been asleep for 20 minutes. JR said it wasn't the first time the conductor in question had fallen asleep while on the job. JR said the conductor will be subject to thorough disciplinary action.

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50 Comments
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disciplinary action?? don't be silly. "JR said he has been fired immediately" was wish of the citizens.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The dreaded JR thorough disciplinary action. That'll learn him. Then he will never forget the doors again or to speak nasally for every minute of the journey between Tokyo and Narita.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Not fit for Narita Express, transfer him to a monorail duty...!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He'll be scrubbing floors with a toothbrush for the next 6 months.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So he fell asleep after they left Chiba but they arrived safe at Narita which means its an automatic train that doesn't necessarily need a driver like a monorail train and he was only there to open the doors? Since JR knew it happened before maybe that's why they put him on such a train in the first place?

-3 ( +5 / -7 )

My question is this, if he doesn't remember anything after the train left Chiba Station, how did the train get stopped at Tokyo?

-8 ( +0 / -7 )

the train conductor doesn't drive the train. the conductor's job is to collect tickets, press the door open button and make announcments.

16 ( +15 / -0 )

@papigiullio

So he fell asleep after they left Chiba but they arrived safe at Narita which means its an automatic train that doesn't necessarily need a driver like a monorail train and he was only there to open the doors? Since JR knew it happened before maybe that's why they put him on such a train in the first place?

You obviously do not know the difference between a driver and a conductor

7 ( +9 / -3 )

The conductor falls asleep but the train does not crash. I have to hand it to JR. Also, I doubt they will be using conductors in the future, so current conductors should be looking for other jobs now.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I'll crawl back in my cave sigh.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

No, worries, papigiulio. It is a common mistake. I think most people think the same way. No need to crawl back in your cave. Sometimes people can be too direct.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Poor guy, but yeah don't sleep on the job

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You gotta love it that this can be national news!

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Then he will never forget the doors again or to speak nasally for every minute of the journey between Tokyo and Narita.

LOL

the municipal buses can be worse... you will have not only the driver speaking at every stop ("I will stop" "departing now") but the NONSTOP recorded lady telling you whats next every block the bus passes while throwing you ads in the process... add that to the big "ブレーキに注意" (Careful, braking) sign that lights (blinks?) everytime the drivers foot touches the break pedal. Sometimes I think it`s a measure for prevent the passengers from dozing off...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The guy needs some time off......

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Give conductors time to properly rest. Holidays would be a start. Fatigue is a major cause of accidents. This is totally JR's fault.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@Thunderbird

i had a similar question before. apparently, the reason why the driver walks everyone through the movements of the bus is actually to protect the bus operators from any lawsuit incase someone gets injured or hurt while stopping, making a turn or any injuries caused by the activity of the bus. the "victim" can't sue because the driver "announced" or gave notice before making any action. sounds kind of stupid but i guess it's kind of understandable. similar to the "caution very hot" note on the McDonald's Coffee.

7 ( +6 / -0 )

You gotta love it that this can be national news!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who is floored by this.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So banning reading book/manga by a JR conductor is good or bad?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have to agree with kurisupisu and Christopher Glen. Disciplining someone for being exhausted doesn't solve the problem. A few years ago there was a bus crash when the driver fell asleep. It was later determined that the company he worked for had him driving around for something like15 hours a day. This has to stop. Whether they are train conductors, bus drivers, or just plain salarymen, the gov needs to step in and reign in the overtime- especially for the full timers.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

You gotta love it that this can be national news!

It's in the "National" news section of JT. Doesn't mean it really made the "national" news, it didn't.

Moderator: In fact, it did.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"You gotta love it that this can be national news!"

Don't you just love gullible gaijins who don't know PROPAGANDA when they read it...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

My thought are 1: how do you drive/operate a train whilst your asleep? 2: how did he stop the train if he was asleep? ( how do you apply the brakes?) 3: if your ill unwell, don't come to work esspecialy if the public is involved (where someone could be injured or worse killed), the last thing you need to do is put them at risk. 4: disciplinary action, well who for? may be the management ought to be disciplined, if they don't have the welfare of the staff at hand or they don't have a work policy saying if your ill, or giving clear instruction,IE: phone in if your unwell, are they not at fault?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

The Conductor is at the rear of the train and not the Driver.

That should answer your questions.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

It"s ME nailed it, I don`t remember in other countries, but in Japan you have one guy to "drive" the train and one at the rear to open/close doors, give announcements, etc..

3 ( +3 / -1 )

Good old JR East!

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

So much for the 'berating' JR staff received last week over the same behavior. Either they are working these people too hard or not hard enough. Either way, it's a very dangerous practice!

1 ( +4 / -2 )

You gotta love it that this can be national news!

Am with you kobe! we live in a world where neighbour disputes, pub brawls and stolen undies open the national news. Actually think Japan isnt too bad, there is much much worse imo.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

how many hours a week does he work. Maybe it's the system.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I guess some people don't know the difference between a conductor and the driver/engineer.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

People operating public transport vehicles and falling asleep on the job is worthy of national news, it's a big deal since it could kill dozens of people.

No the conductor is not in charge of driving the train but he is in charge of stopping the train if something happens at a platform, as well as making sure other safety checks are performed properly.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You gotta love it that this can be national news! I'm glad I'm not the only one who is floored by this.

Once again for clarification, this is not on nor in the national news in Japan. Only here on JT. Big difference.

Moderator: It most certainly was national news and that ends discussion on this point.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Aly Rustom

I have to agree with kurisupisu and Christopher Glen. Disciplining someone for being exhausted doesn't solve the problem. A few years ago there was a bus crash when the driver fell asleep. It was later determined that the company he worked for had him driving around for something like15 hours a day. This has to stop. Whether they are train conductors, bus drivers, or just plain salarymen, the gov needs to step in and reign in the overtime- especially for the full timers.

and I agree with all three of you ! (Thank you all for saving me the time to write it !)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is a workplace health and safety issue. JR should not have knowingly allowed him on his shift as he was not feeling well and had taken medication. If only unionized employees executed their rights or something

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good old JR East!

Indeed. Do you know of any railroad company that moves as many people as safely and reliably with the on schedule performance of JR East? The WDC Metro certainly does not. London Underground certainly does not.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It would be much better to question JR East as to why their employees seem to fear for there jobs if they feel sick, forcing themselves to come to work in an unsuitable condition.

As for the threatened diciplinary action, I recall a massive accident a decade ago caused by a driver's fear of unwarranted punishment. That was JR West, but is JR East going to make the same mistake?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

bullfighter: "Do you know of any railroad company that moves as many people as safely and reliably with the on schedule performance of JR East?"

Ah, like when they 'punished' the young driver for stopping a few meters past the stopping point, and stopping too slowly, forcing him to make up the time to the point where the plane plowed into an apartment complex in Amagasaki? THAT company and its methods of punishment? The company well known for its abuse of staff, and for its overtime work to the point where the staff, like this man, are exhausted (and they will punish him/them for it)?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Conductor needs a health examination...he might suffer from sleep apnea.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Meant to say 'train', not 'plane', of course.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I have to agree with kurisupisu and Christopher Glen. Disciplining someone for being exhausted doesn't solve the problem. A few years ago there was a bus crash when the driver fell asleep. It was later determined that the company he worked for had him driving around for something like15 hours a day. This has to stop. Whether they are train conductors, bus drivers, or just plain salarymen, the gov needs to step in and reign in the overtime- especially for the full timers.

All well and good, but you're making a ton of assumptions. Nobody in the article claimed the conductor was over worked. In fact, the conductor admitted he was feeling under the weather and took some medication - which is probably the cause of his drowsiness.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So, the conductor felt unable to take sick leave, so he came in to "gaman". And therein lies Japan's problem. The sick and the exhausted need time to rest.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Probably went to a nomikai the night before, and the night before that and the....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

in Japan, it's more important to please your superiors than actually being "good" at your job. doing your work well means nothing if your boss doesn't like you because you don't do exactly as you're told even if you can deliver the same (or better) results.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

in the world, it's more important to please your superiors than actually being "good" at your job

^ I fixed that for you.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Didn't the driver notice the doors not opening for 30 seconds? Fairly sure he has an override switch in his cockpit. Perhaps he was sleeping as well. :v Can hardly blame them for dozing off on the NEX though, with it being as slow as it is, that's about what it is good for nowadays.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think the Amagasaki crash was the fault of JR West, not JR East.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"The conductor, who dozed off, is in his 40s. JR East said he told them he wasn’t feeling well and that he had taken some medicine before starting work... the conductor will be subject to thorough disciplinary action."

What if the conductor said he was sick and taken the shift off? Get some needed rest? No disciplinary action?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think the Amagasaki crash was the fault of JR West, not JR East.

Bu, bu, but they sound the same! That means they are the same!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The American solution is to "fire them", no compassion. I say demote him to a job he can perform. See if he learns his lesson and in time can return to his job.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Another overworked and underpaid worker in " compassionate" Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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