Loss-Making JR Hokkaido Lines Face Challenge to Survive

Politics

Sapporo, June 18 (Jiji Press)--Hokkaido Railway Co., or JR Hokkaido, is expected to continue to face a tough task of shoring up eight loss-making railway sections although municipalities along the lines have agreed to help with financial assistance.

Analysts warn that it is extremely difficult to increase the number of passengers on the sections, which are located in cold areas with rapidly falling populations. They also doubt whether demand-boosting measures JR Hokkaido has devised will pay off.

In 2016, the railway operator serving the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido said that it would be unable to maintain services single-handedly for the eight sections and five others on 10 of its railway lines.

JR Hokkaido hopes to keep the eight sections running through financial assistance from local governments in Hokkaido and from the state.

The company will scrap the other five sections and replace them with bus services.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press