Famously efficient, punctual and clean, Tokyo’s subway and train systems transport 40 million passengers around the metropolis every day. But they have become victims of their own success and are now equally notorious for being overcrowded. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has called in outside experts in an effort to devise solutions to the problem of jam-packed carriages in the city, a problem in particular for millions of commuters going to and from work during the peak rush hours. Addressing the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly in September, Koike said: “Commuting in overcrowded trains could be slowing society’s momentum.” According to statistics collated by the transport ministry, average capacity at the busiest times of the day in Tokyo came to 164 per cent in 2015, a level that has been steady for around 15 years. That figure – which denotes the additional amount of passengers above the ideal benchmark set by the ministry per carriage – is a significant improvement on the 1970s, when it came to 221 per cent, but still makes commuting a daily test of endurance for millions of men and women.
Home GRASP GRASP/Japan Tokyo considers drastic measures to relieve extreme overcrowding on subway system