Local rail lines are in a dire situation. Passenger numbers had already been on the decline due to depopulation and a shift toward car use over the years, but the coronavirus pandemic has led to a further plunge and triggered a wave of changes to unprofitable lines.
On April 6, the first day of the new term at Saijo Shisui High School, 17-year-old Tasuku Nakakura got out of a car at 7:35 a.m. in front of the empty Taka Station on the Geibi Line in Shobara, Hiroshima Prefecture, and went through the unmanned station building to the platform. Five minutes later, he boarded a one-car train.
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