Passenger Traffic on Yamanote Line Plummets over Weekend

Economy

Tokyo, March 30 (Jiji Press)--The combined number of passengers on the Yamanote Line in Tokyo on Saturday and Sunday plummeted to 30 pct of the year-before level, officials at East Japan Railway Co. <9020>, or JR East, said Monday.

The plunge apparently reflected calls by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and other prefectural governors for residents to avoid nonessential travel to help contain the new coronavirus. The latest figure came after passenger traffic on the busy loop line fell to 65 pct of the year-before level at the preceding weekend.

Shinkansen and other express train services operated by JR East also saw passenger numbers plunge on Saturday and Sunday. The number of passengers was down to 30 pct on the Tohoku, Joetsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train lines and to 35 pct on the Akita Shinkansen Line, the officials said. The Hokuriku Shinkansen Line is operated jointly with West Japan Railway Co. <9021>, or JR West.

Among major stations on the Yamanote Line, Tokyo and Ueno stations saw the volume of passengers, excluding those who use commuter passes, fall to 18 pct of the levels a year before on Saturday. Traffic fell to 24 pct at Shinjuku Station and to 26 pct at Shibuya Station.

"I don't remember such sharp declines in passenger traffic except in the aftermath of natural disasters, such as the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami," a JR East official said. But the company has no plans to reduce its train services for now, the official said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press