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What’s one thing you would change about the Tokyo subway system?

by Mark Buckton

Christina Muehlbauer, 24
German teacher (German)
I would make it 24 hours — maybe not the overland trains, so as not to disturb people, but certainly the subway. If you are in Tokyo and want to go out and party late, you have to wait until around 5 a.m. to get the train home. Every big city I know has 24-hour subway. Why not Tokyo?

Tim Maloney, 53
Man of leisure (English)
I would like to see better integration taking place as far as pricing goes, with the various companies working together more. As is, you can get caught out paying more on different routes for the same trip. There should be a system with the same prices on different routes.

Kanae Kamada, 26
Stationery designer (Japanese)
The ease with which we change from one train to another. Sometimes it is a really big issue to transfer. I need to check on my phone where to go, and it can take up to five minutes or more at some stations. It is too long, walking-wise and also time-wise. Shibuya is especially bad.

William Berry, 29
Engineer (American)
Not so much the subway itself, as the system we have now is pretty good, but, thinking of when I first came to Japan, I was always fighting the ticket system, with different subway companies and Japan Rail on top of that. That could still be made easier, but fortunately now we have Suica.

Rumi Yoshida, 39
Sales administrator (Japanese)
For foreigners not used to Japanese, it could be hard to find the right line. They are colored, but there are similar ones, like the Ginza and Yurakucho lines. Perhaps we could use numbers, like “line 1″ and “line 2″ — then anyone could find them and distinguish them from JR lines.

Shinobu Ichinohe, 40
Truck driver (Japanese)
Japan’s system is already very good, but in the morning rush hour I want a little more flexibility and more trains to come along the same line. I live along the Tozai Line and crowding on that line is crazy. We need more trains!

Interested in gathering views in your neighborhood? For further details, please mail community@japantimes.co.jp.

  • Piglet

    The system is quite good, but if I had to suggest some change it would be the following:- Unified line numbering (among major train, subway and bus companies): for example 001 to 015 for subway lines, 020 to 099 for train lines, 100 and more for buses, 9xx for express lines to airport or whatever system they can agree of.
    - 24 hours service (night bus, reduced train service)
    - Quieter and more focused announcements (too much information kills the purpose of it, as many people don’t listen to announcements anymore)
    - Ability to pay/charge online or with credit card
    - Free wifi in trains and stations for tourists

  • sub-j

    “Every big city I know has 24-hour subway”
    That’s quite a claim to make, googling this only turned up NY and Copenhagen?