Despite how overwhelming and expansive it may seem, the transit system in Tokyo is actually efficient and easy to use. After our tour today, I understand why the trains and subways are the best and most popular forms of transit in Tokyo. In fact, I think the reasons for this are high efficiency and accessibility to information about the system.
Tokyo’s transit system is probably the most efficient transit system in the world. The most obvious and famous reason for this is how timely the trains are. It has even been national news when a train was only one minute late. Now a one-minute delay would not usually seem like a big deal for people in other parts of the world, but it is for Tokyo transit. This is because their transit system is designed to eliminate as many delay factors as possible. For example, using rapid transit, trains cannot be slowed down by street congestion or other types of traffic. The monorail represents this well because it operates above other infrastructure and is completely independent of traffic. Tokyo transit even tries to prevent external accidents, such as accidents while boarding and suicide attempts on the tracks. By replacing normal train alert sounds with a short, peaceful melody, the transit system reduced the amount of accidents that were caused by panic and rushing on and off trains. This is in addition to the blue platform lights that promote happier thoughts and feelings which has led to a large reduction of the amount of suicide attempts on the tracks.
Along with heavy accident prevention, Tokyo’s transit system is also good with handling the large amounts of people that use it. Millions of people use Tokyo’s transit system every day, however, I think that the business is handled well. The main way this is done is by having trains depart every few minutes. Another observation I had today was that the stations had multiple entrances and exits which prevented large crowds from gathering in one place to enter and exit. Having a prepaid card such as the Suica card made moving in and out of the stations even easier and prevents long lines from forming for tickets.
One final reason I have to explain why Tokyo transit works so well is how easy it is to obtain the information you need to travel. Along with signs and announcements, there are also other sources of train information that provide even more details. For example, there are many signs that have clear animations that show everything related to the train you are on such as the line, stops, direction, and more. However, if you want to take it up a step, I learned that Google Maps will even tell you which train car to use to get in and out the quickest. All of these little tools help made riding the trains in Tokyo a lot less stressful. Even when I didn’t know exactly where I was, I still felt confident enough to navigate on my own.