Saturday 24 August 2019

Japanese rail company apologises after train departs 20 seconds early

A bullet train passes below Mt. Fuji in Japan
A bullet train passes below Mt. Fuji in Japan

Mark Molloy

A Japanese train company has apologised to passengers after a train departed 20 seconds too early.

While late-running services are a problem familiar to most rail users, Tokyo commuters have to worry about the opposite in a country renowned for its punctual transport.

It was scheduled to leave Minami-Nagareyama Station at 9:44:40 local time on November 14, but it actually departed at 9:44:20.

The company’s management team issued a statement apologising for the early departure on the Tsukuba Express line.

“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused,” the company said.

“The crew did not sufficiently check the departure time and performed the departure operation.”

They assured customers that staff had been given additional training to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

The company added that no one missed the train as a result of the early departure and confirmed no complaints had been made about the incident.  

Commuters have been joking about the apology on social media, with many recalling their own experiences on late-running public transport.

“Tokyo train company’s apology for 20-second-early departure is one of the best things about Japan,” tweeted one.

Another wrote: “I once had an Israeli bus driver laugh at me after he closed the door on my hips and drove off with my legs hanging out of the bus. I am so envious of Japan right now.”

A UK commuter posted: “They apologise for being 20 seconds early, and yet you don't get an apology from any major UK train company until they're over 2 hours late.

Schuyler Velasco‏ wrote: “I took a commuter train in Tokyo that was 2 minutes late, and there were profuse apologies. It was 2 minutes late because there was an earthquake.”

The wrong sort of leaves, excessive heat and llamas on the line are just some of the bizarre reasons previously given for train delays in the UK.

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