World's 1st Commercial DMV Operation Starts in Western Japan


Kaiyo, Tokushima Pref., Dec. 25 (Jiji Press)--A public-private, or third-sector, railway company in western Japan started on Saturday the world's first commercial operation of a dual mode vehicle capable of running on both roads and railway tracks.

Local residents expect that the new service by Asa Coast Railway Co., which enhances the accessibility to tourist spots, will attract more railway fans and others.

At a ceremony in the town of Kaiyo, Tokushima Prefecture, to mark the launch of the service, Tokushima Governor Kamon Iizumi said he wants to "send dreams and hopes to the world" from the prefecture through the DMV.

"It took as long as about 10 years to launch (the DMV service). I'm full of emotion," said Kaiyo Mayor Shigeki Miura, who doubles as president of Asa Coast Railway. The company's railway service links Tokushima and neighboring Kochi Prefecture.

Asa Coast Railway's DMV is based on a minibus and equipped with rubber tires used for travel on roads and steel wheels for railway tracks. Its road and railway modes can be switched in only about 15 seconds. During the time the switch takes place, sounds from a traditional local drum performance by students belonging to the local performing art club of Kaifu High School in Kaiyo are played inside the vehicle.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press