It’s the sign all commuters dread. The inexplicable train delay first thing on a Monday, guaranteed to mess up the rest of your day.
We loathe the irksome gamble which is our public transport system, but it’s something which unites us all.
Much like grumbling about the weather and lack of biscuits, being frustrated by the devil-may-care nature of our trains is an essential part of British life.
We tweet prolifically about our disgruntlement, but we never really expect anything to change. Much like the tide, Brits will continue to passive aggressively stare at the apologetic train schedule until time immortal.
And so it’s perfectly understandable how much tea was simultaneously spat out at the news of a Japanese railway company apologising profusely for one of their trains being 25 seconds early.
The incident in question happened at Notogawa Station on the Biwa Line, and occurred because the conductor misunderstood the departure time.
According to the website:
At around 7:12 am, a staff member at the Notogawa station received a declaration from the customer that he was departing earlier than the specified departure time and contacted the Osaka General Directorate.
As a result of the investigation, I learned that I departed at 7:12:05 AM, about 25 seconds earlier, when I departed at 7:12:0.
Find out more about Japan’s impressive trains below:
There was reportedly a ‘declaration’ from one passenger who was unable to get on the train at the Notogawa station stop. Luckily, the train stopped at the next stop – Omihachiman Station – at the correct time.
In a press release, JR West made the following grave statement:
The great inconvenience we placed upon our customers was truly inexcusable.
We will be thoroughly evaluating our conduct and striving to keep such an incident from occurring again.
So sincere are JR West in their remorse, they are even implementing new measures to ensure nothing of this scale ever happens again:
Education through training and training at the time of calling will be carried out so that similar events will not occur.
Japan – train 25s late – heads are falling; Macedonia – airport shuttle 10min late – “Sorry guys I overslept”
— Ádám Székely (@szekely_adi) May 15, 2018
Compare and contrast, #SydneyTrains customer service vs Japan.
Sydney: customer complaint of train leaving 20 seconds early, resulting in 15 minute wait for next train: customer's fault.
Japan: train leaves 20 seconds early, 4 minutes wait for next train: profuse apology. pic.twitter.com/2NXyPeiMRq
— Sydney Train User (@SydneyRailUser) May 15, 2018
Now, although it may seem like a very, very small blip in the grand scheme of things; an incident like this could indeed cause commuters a great deal of stress.
This error took place on a Friday morning, with many passengers heading to their place of work. Some passengers were left on the platform, unnoticed by the conductor, and were forced to hop on the next train, which arrived six minutes later.
Nobody likes to be late for work, but in Japan punctuality is taken much more seriously than in many other countries.
According to Sora News, being late by just six minutes is enough to land a Japanese person in hot water with their boss.
Hopefully the commuters who were left behind have had a much smoother journey in this morning.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.