Monday, January 11, 2016

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Why does this remote Japanese train station stay open for just one passenger?

Japan is famous for many things: Extraordinary Trains; Aging population; Great service. But in case you missed it, here is a wonderful little story that includes all three of them.

About three years ago, the Hokkaido Railway Co. was set to close one station, Kami-Shirataki on Japan’s northern island – a common enough situation given that more than 20 railway lines on Hokkaido have shut down in the last few years due to its remote location, the ending of freight trains to certain areas and the rapid decline in the region’s population.

However the company decided to keep this particular station open despite the fact that it was almost entirely unused.


The company learned that there remained a single student who still used the service for her travel to and from high school, namely the 7:04am train departing from the station and the 5:08pm train arriving at the station. The company even adjusted the timetable to fit in with the student’s school schedule and for years now the trains have stopped at the station just for her. But it will soon end. Not for any other reason than she graduates on 26 March 2016.

So in case you have ever wondered how far a Japanese train service would go for just one passenger, now you know.

Now that’s service.


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