JR Tokai to Let Employees Commute by Shinkansen between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka from January, Paving Way for 67-Minute Commute if Maglev is Used

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
People get in a Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train at JR Tokyo Station in March.

Central Japan Railway Co. plans to allow employees to commute by Shinkansen train on all sections of the Tokaido Shinkansen line, from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka, starting in January.

The company, also known as JR Tokai, has agreed with major labor unions to implement the new rule and aims to increase employees’ options for living arrangements in order to retain workers and attract new talent.

About 6,000 employees who are not directly involved in railway operations, such as maintenance and other on-site work, will be included in the new rule. Taking into account the growing trend in which employees commute less frequently and telework more, the company hopes the new rule will create an environment where employees can commute to work without being restricted by where they live.

Currently, the company allows commuting by Shinkansen within 300 kilometers, including from Tokyo to Toyohashi (294 kilometers) and from Shin-Osaka to Hamamatsu (296 kilometers). The new rule extends this to the entire Tokaido Shinkansen coverage area, 553 kilometers between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, theoretically enabling the employees to spend 2½ hours commuting one-way from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka. Tokyo to Nagoya takes an hour and 35 minutes.

The Linear Chuo Shinkansen maglev line, currently under construction, is not expected to be part of the new rule at this point. But if it is included in the future, a more reasonable commute would be possible as the maglev travels from Shinagawa to Nagoya in just 40 minutes and Shinagawa to Osaka takes 67 minutes.