Friday, May 18, 2018

SusuMetro - Moving Tokyo! Moving Metro!

When I was in Tokyo, I noticed a lot of improvements and changes were being made especially in transportation to make travel much more convenient and smooth not only to the local citizens there but also to tourists as well! Japan is really undergoing a lot of changes in preparation for the Olympics in 2020. 

When I was taking the metro subway, I would often spot these super adorable Doraemon ads at many stations which is aimed to spread awareness of some of the new changes and improvements that Tokyo Metro is working with city developers to make its station more convenient and to make passenger flow smoother. 

Some of these changes include extending and expanding platforms to make them longer and wider to better distribute passengers traffic and make transfer smoother. There will also be more platforms and train tracks being added to alleviate congestion and train delays. If you have ever taken the trains and subways in Tokyo then you'd know how crowded it can be. During rush hour time, there would be soooooo many people on the platform that there is barely even any space for you to stand. 

More attentiveness and safety! One time when I was riding the metro, there was a passenger who was in a wheelchair and the staffs at the station helped him get on the train by asking other passengers to stand to the side and make room for him and even pushing him all the way into the train and positioning him in a spot where he is safe. Such high level of attentiveness and consideration! Also, when I took the train to the Doraemon museum, I didn't know which exit/way to go to take the special Doraemon bus to get to the museum. I saw a station staff and went up to him to ask for direction and he actually said please follow me, I will take you there! I know it may not sound like such a big deal but when you are in Tokyo and there are like a ton of exits you can take, it can be quite terrifying when you take the wrong exit and get lost easily. I was very touched by his genuine help to ensure I was heading to the right place. Compared to my encounters from my previous trips to Japan, their level of customer service has truly improved. I recall getting some very rude and unhelpful station staffs when I was lost and had to ask for directions. 

Which also brings to my next point that I have noticed there is an increase of more English speaking staffs working at the information counter. Even staffs patrolling around the gate area to provide help to passengers and tourists who are lost and need guidance. They are also super easy to spot as well as they're mostly in a blue uniform wearing a blue hat! lol.

Get comfortable and efficient. Two of the most efficient changes I've noticed was more escalators and more clean, comfortable, and multi-functional washrooms. Okay, before I really didn't think having more escalators was a needed thing in Tokyo but it does make a HUGE difference when you have to carry luggage around and climbing up those long ass stairs with the luggage is not the most ideal workout ever. Not to mention I don't know why transfer line platforms are sooooooo far apart inside train stations that it requires you to walk sooooo much to get to the other transfer line platform to take your next train. Sometimes I'm reading those signs that tell you how many metres you are away from the train line platform and it makes me want to literally scream out loud like I'm still not there yet...I thought it said 15 metres 5 minutes ago?!?! But I am soooo glad they finally got more western-style toilets, no more Japanese-style squatting toilets, lol. And there are more hand dryers!!! YASSSS. No more air drying your hand or carrying a handkerchief around. I also like that there are more benches added for passengers to sit and more elevators to conveniently move from ground level to concourse level without having to use stairs. The new LED lights and work spaces which allow use of computers, tablets and other devices is also a really neat touch as well. 

And lastly I've noticed a great increase of platform doors everywhere inside the train stations to reduce the number of passenger falls and even gap fillers between the train and the platforms to prevent slipping. And the doors are half in height so that you can see the train when it arrives. 

There are many other amazing and efficient improvements that are being made to the Tokyo Metro which you can learn about on the official website. It's also super cute and interactive with Doraemon being your guide and there are so many cute images and even videos you can watch! Do check it out!

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