Business / Corporate

JR East may halt Tokyo-area trains earlier as coronavirus saps demand

Jiji

East Japan Railway Co. is considering moving up the last trains of the day on the Yamanote and other lines when the firm revises its train timetables in spring 2021, due to falling demand amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, an official has said.

Through the move, the railway operator better known as JR East also hopes to secure more time for train and track maintenance during the night.

On the Yamanote Line recently, passenger traffic has returned to 60-70 percent of the level before the coronavirus outbreak during the morning rush hour, but only to around 50 percent for the last train as more workers apparently opt to work from home if they can.

“We will study our train timetables as a new lifestyle (in response to the virus crisis) is taking hold,” said Ryoji Akaishi, executive director of JR East, at a news conference Thursday.

But he stopped short of mentioning how early the last trains on the Yamanote Line, a busy loop line in the capital, and other lines in JR East’s service area would be, saying that “we are not at a stage” to talk about specifics.

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