• Kyodo

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A Tokyo subway car decorated with characters from the popular children’s animation “Thomas & Friends” was shown to the media Tuesday, a day before the start of test runs aimed at making train services more accessible for people with young children.

Six cars on the Toei Subway’s Oedo Line will offer “child care support spaces” adorned with locomotive characters from the animation series, which originated in Britain.

Stickers placed on the exterior of the subway trains will mark the spaces, which were created in an attempt to make people with strollers or children feel more comfortable riding them.

In downtown Tokyo, which is notorious for overcrowded rush-hour trains, passengers with children are often regarded as a nuisance and discouraged from using public transportation services.

“It’s cute,” said Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike upon entering the car. She inspected the space as the metropolitan government operates the subway services.

“This space sends a message that it’s OK to be accompanied by children,” Koike said. “I want to make Tokyo a convenient place to live for everyone.”

Schedules of the child-friendly train operations will be released on the website of the Tokyo government’s Transportation Bureau every morning. The municipality said it will study whether to expand the services after hearing the opinions of users.

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