A country of workaholics where time is money, even seconds count. This was displayed in full when a train company departed from the station 20 seconds early! This early departure was made such an issue that the company had to literally apologize to its passengers.
The National Rail users are quite used to their trains running late, but with Tokyo commuters, it is just the opposite. The country’s transport is a stickler for time and highly punctual.
The incident of early departure happened on the Tsukuba Express line when the train was scheduled to leave Minami-Nagareyama Station at 9:44:40 local time on November 14, but actually took off at 9:44:20. This was clearly the company’s mistake.
The company’s management was forced to issue a statement that said, “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused. The crew did not sufficiently check the departure time and performed the departure operation.” As additional assurance, the company informed the public that the erring crew and all its staff have been given additional training to ensure that this kind of glitch doesn’t happen again.
Furthermore, to assuage the feeling of outrage among its commuters, the company confirmed that no one missed the train due to early departure and it has received no complaints from anyone in this regard.
Although the company’s management tendered the apology in all honesty to regain the trust of the commuters, it became quite a joke on the social media, with users recounting their own experiences of late-running public transport.
The tweets came fast and furious. One tweeted, “I took a commuter train in Tokyo that was two minutes late and there were profuse apologies. It was two minutes late because there was an earthquake.”
A UK commuter wrote, “They apologize for being 20 seconds early, and yet you don’t get an apology from any major UK train company until they’re over 2 hours late.”