JR Train Passengers Down 68 Pct during Holiday Period

Society

Tokyo, Jan. 6 (Jiji Press)--The number of passengers for Shinkansen bullet trains and other train services of the Japan Railways Group during the year-end and Near Year's period tumbled 68 pct from a year before due to the novel coronavirus epidemic, the six JR Group passenger service firms said Wednesday.

A total of about 4,879,000 people used JR Shinkansen and limited express trains during the period from Dec. 25 to Tuesday, marking the lowest figure since such data became available in the 1991-1992 season, according to the firms. The result came as many people refrained from making trips to their hometowns or elsewhere following a resurgence of the coronavirus.

The passenger traffic was down 70 pct at West Japan Railway Co. <9021>, or JR West, 69 pct at Hokkaido Railway Co., or JR Hokkaido, 68 pct at Central Japan Railway Co. <9022>, or JR Tokai, 67 pct each at East Japan Railway Co. <9020>, or JR East, and Shikoku Railway Co., or JR Shikoku, and 61 pct at Kyushu Railway Co. <9142>, or JR Kyushu.

According to JR East, the number of users of its bullet train services, including on the Tohoku and the Joetsu Shinkansen lines, fell to around one-third of the year-before levels. Passengers decreased 75 pct for the Yamagata Shinkansen Line, which connects Tokyo and the northeastern prefecture of Yamagata, reflecting heavy snow during the holiday period, JR East said.

The number of people who used trains to visit popular Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples during the period sagged dramatically. The number of passengers who disembarked at JR East's Harajuku and Yoyogi stations in Tokyo, both near Meiji Jingu, a major shrine, in the first three days of the new year dropped 62 pct from a year before.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press