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Tokyo Metro offers free food to ease crowding on Tozai line

35 Comments
By Kazuhiro Nogi

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© 2019 AFP

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Although this idea is a good incentive, have they thought about the cost? who is going to cook all of this soba and tempura? I was just thinking how much is this going to cost to implement and run? there is going to be a huge amount of people queuing to get served, have they got time to eat it? and how long is this incentive going to run for 1 month 2 months?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

The only solution is variable pricing. You want to get to work at 9am, you pay double. You want to get to work at 10am or later you pay half.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Put up train prices and then more people will walk....

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

They’re going to have to think beyond tempura and soba for this to be sustainable. Address the root cause and not the direct cause. Not much they can do about the tracks, space is limited. Something on the lines of scheduling, increased train numbers, longer trains etc. It’s not easy, but what is?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Yeah, I’m sure companies are all of a sudden going to allow flex time because the subway is giving out free food.

Why is flex time such a hard concept for this country? I’ve got family members who have been on four day work weeks for years. Japan? I don’t know many who can work from home or work at a place that offers flex time except one or two.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Nearly 1,000 businesses are taking part in the campaign, allowing their staff to start and end work earlier than usual, or work from home

The only thing I see here is longer working hours. I know it says "end work earlier" but do you think this will be reality? And soba and tempura for breakfast? Couldn't they think of something a bit healthier?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Whoever signed off on this must be pating themselves on the back for a job well done. Sarcasm aside, I hope japan can get leadership that truly cares for the well-being of the masses one day.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The only solution is variable pricing. You want to get to work at 9am, you pay double. You want to get to work at 10am or later you pay half.

This is the U.K. model and it doesn’t work unless you like getting your wallet raped.

Not all businesses can operate flex time, and the ones that can often won’t.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Commuter congestion is expected to be among the logistical challenges Tokyo will face when it hosts the Olympics next year summer, with some experts urging initiatives including tele-working to avoid chaos during the Games.

Just knew it! The first thing that came to mind when I read the title of the article, "It's gotta be about the Olympics" Yup!

For the last 3 or 4 decades no one gave a damn about the crush of passengers, even folks from abroad were amazed at the number of people and the platform workers that pushed passengers into the cars to shut the doors.

Now the Olympics are coming so....

(Maybe Tokyo should host an Olympics every year, and then we might actually see some real changes! And then I woke up!)

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Free beer is better

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Process is way too complicated...

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

That's what you want during the height of flu season, train food.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Trains on the line operate at 199 percent capacity, which is still considered safe, but means passengers are packed so tightly they would have difficulty moving their bodies or limbs, said Takeshi Yamashita, a Tokyo Metro spokesman.

I always feel sorry for the folks when I read crap like this. How in the hell can 199% of capacity still be considered "safe"?

It's only "safe" until some disaster happens!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This has Premium Friday written all over it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I used to use this line from Nishi-Funabashi to Ginza and it's packed from 6:30am. I'm not sure what they mean by catching an earlier train, unless it's like 5am. The commute on this line was a major contributing factor to changing my job. It's not just the crowds. There are a lot of bad mannered and angry people using this line as well. I saw a fight at least once a week when I was using this line - every day if it was raining. I've heard so many initiatives addressing this issue of overcrowded trains including employers staggering start and finish times. However, I am yet to see any difference. It's kind of like the 'Premium Friday' initiative. Who remembers that? Nobody of course!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

You want to get to work at 10am or later you pay half.

Unfortunately I would be fired if I got to work at 10am.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The problem is the concentration of offices and other businesses in central Tokyo. Businesses need to be persuaded to move offices outside of central Tokyo. Housing costs in Tokyo need to be affordable to people who work in Tokyo.

How can this be done? How about high property taxes on office and other business space over a certain size? It would not be fair and not advantageous to overtax small businesses like mom and pop shops and non-chain restaurants. Another idea would be to force companies to compensate employees for the time they have to spend commuting.

Let's face it, the Tokyo train system is a complete failure when it comes to getting people to work quickly: all it does is move people further and further away from their place of work by concentrating businesses in cnetral Tokyo.

Of course the easiest way for the government to do this would be to move government offices out of central Tokyo.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I think the government should promote this to the companies, not commuters. Because in the end, employees will follow the company rules, not because they saw some jisa biz ad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They haven’t thought this through. You’ll get a short term respite while early birds earn their free feed and then having fattened up they’ll return to normal working and make the crush worse than ever.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Brian --

According to Tokyo Metro's press release, they will be giving away vouchers equal to the values of the soba and/or tempura, which may be redeemed any time, not just in an early morning.

(Source: https://www.tokyometro.jp/news/images_h/metroNews20190115_05.pdf)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Here's the thing: Some commuters even ride the Shinkansen every weekday to get to work in Tokyo's CBDs. Even with the typical suburban sprawls everywhere else in the world, this isn't normal and this isn't sustainable. Companies really need to consider relocating some or all of their workforce outside the Tokyo metro region, to cities where housing costs and basic living expenses are much lower and their employees can commute to work in a relatively short time. I'm thinking of Shizuoka or Kofu or even as far out as Matsumoto and Hamamatsu.

If the corporate executives and senior management need to be in Tokyo for meetings, they can easily do so these days now that the Shinkansen goes just about everywhere.

Decentralization and devolution have been topics of discussion among Japanese politicians since the 1980s but simply there's no political will within the LDP to pursue them. But quite honestly, with climate change and the risks of major earthquakes, everything in Japan shouldn't revolve around Tokyo. That lesson should have been learned back in 2011.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Gaijin traveller:

What I found best IMHO is a housing and food allowance, pegged to local CPI, in addition to base pay. That means you can still make ends meet if you get only ¥1000/hr or ¥2000000/yr. If in Tokyo with 2 children, a 3 bedroom apartment is on average ¥270595 (data: numbeo), then this is given on top of base pay every month, same with food allowance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They need to talk with the various companies that all of these people are working at. Flex hours and working from home along with possibly some of these companies relocating to less crowded locations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd take them up on this! Free food, get to work early, then when everybody else came in, while picking my teeth, I'd say, hey boys, how y'all?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They are trying to kill 2 birds with one stone. Their private research study also discovered that train gropers showed statistically stronger interest in soba and tempura, especially when free.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Variable start times. Or let people come in when they want to. I'm in sales. I get to work between 7am and 7:30am. My co-worker in the next cube doesn't come in until around 9am. Management doesn't care when we arrive as long as we get our work done.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

WillowJan. 21  08:40 pm JST

Companies really need to consider relocating some or all of their workforce outside the Tokyo metro region, . . .

Just as with the lamentations of the declining population, newspaper editorialists and television commentators have been saying this since the 1980s. The other part of this is getting a lot of the government out of the Kanto in the event that the next big earthquake triggers a tsunami large enough to flood the city to Chiyoda-ku.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's strange - the Tozai from Otemachi all the way to Nakano is blissfully uncrowded, in my experience.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Moving an office out of Tokyo causes problems because as it is, people live in all corners of Tokyo. They all come to the central meeting point, which is where the office is.

Move the office out to yokohama for example and suddenly the people who live in Saitama have a 2hr commute to work. They would realistically have to move, or quit.

I work 'jisabiz' and I love it. Trains arent so crowded, and i am home early in the evenings. But i have a very foreign attitude to overtime (i.e. i dont do any). I know others in my office would just end up staying back till their normal hometime, meaning there isnt any point for them.

The solution for people in IT is telecommuting. Have regional 'work space' offices where people can rent out a private booth to do their work in (if they dont want to work from home - i know i wouldnt be able to resist all the temptations around my house), one at each station so that you can get there without having to go far from home. You could even spread it out, half the day in the remote office, half the day in the actual office.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This idea is like the doctors in Japan. Just throw medicine at it and see if it cures. Never research the underlying problem. And they call themselves efficient. pah.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How about just spend the money to increase the length of the train station to accommodate more cars per train. Or increase the frequency of the trains. If yamanote line comes every 2 or 3 mins, i'm sure tozai line can do it to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No thanks. I am not interested in tempura.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why doesn't the government mandate companies allow flextime...never mind.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Variable pricing might be the answer as it works in other countries. They’ve already tried with points, coupons and kickbacks, but I doubt they made any difference.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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