JR East plans largest cut of train services in spring 2022, JR West largest in decade

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) said Friday it will implement the largest-ever reduction in train services for Shinkansen bullet train lines and conventional lines under its spring 2022 timetable revision.

The move is designed to reduce costs as passengers have been slow to return to the services after a plunge due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

On the other hand, JR East will operate extra Shinkansen and express trains during busy periods in order to maximize profits.

Train services on weekdays will be reduced by 2% from a year before. Specifically, the number of regular Shinkansen and conventional train services will be cut by a total of 239 per day.

Regular train runs for Shinkansen lines will be reduced by 25, while 42 nonregular train services will be added to the timetable.

Local train services on conventional lines will be reduced in line with drops in passenger numbers amid the spread of remote working.

The number of morning commuting hour trains on its Yamanote Line in central Tokyo and 15 other lines in the greater Tokyo area will be reduced by one to four per hour.

On conventional lines, including those running outside the Tokyo area, the reductions will mainly take place during the daytime on services with not many passengers.

Meanwhile, West Japan Railway Co. (JR West), will reduce the number of local train services by 533 compared with autumn this year, including the shortening of service sections, the largest reduction in the last 10 years.

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) will maintain the same scale of service as the previous year. The first Nozomi Shinkansen bullet train of the day from Hakata Station in Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan, will depart the station 15 minutes earlier, arriving at Tokyo Station before 11 a.m. for the first time at 10:57 a.m.

Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) will make some Sakura Shinkansen bullet train services nonregular ones. Hokkaido Railway Co. (JR Hokkaido) will scrap seven stations with the daily number of users below two or three.