Business / Corporate

JR East sees drop in revenue due to coronavirus, with worse to come

JIJI

East Japan Railway Co. said Tuesday that a decline in passenger traffic due to the spread of the novel coronavirus is projected to have pushed down its revenue from railway operations by some ¥11 billion in February.

The number of passengers on its shinkansen fell by about 10 percent from a year before in the month and some 20 percent in the last week, from Feb. 23 to Saturday.

The number of bookings for reserved seats on shinkansen for March dropped by about 50 percent.

“We’ll see a bigger impact in March,” JR East President Yuji Fukasawa told a news conference Tuesday.

The number of passengers using its express trains connecting Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture and central Tokyo fell by some 50 percent in the last week of February.

On Friday to Sunday, the number of users, excluding those with a commuter pass, plunged by about 70 percent at Maihama Station in Urayasu, Chiba, near the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea theme parks, which have been shut since Saturday due to the virus. The figure fell 45 percent at Tokyo Station and 30 percent at Shinjuku Station.

Train congestion during commuting rush hours has eased as many companies have encouraged teleworking and staggered commuting to avoid coronavirus infections.

Passenger volume on JR East’s Yamanote Line during morning rush hours on Feb. 25 to Friday fell by 10 to 20 percent from the usual level. The congestion rate on the line also decreased, the company said.

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