Employees at Japan’s Tsukuba Express issued a formal apology after one of their trains departed 20 seconds ahead of schedule. Members of Japan’s Metropolitan Intercity Railway say crewmembers didn’t “sufficiently check the departure time” and expressed regret for anyone who missed this train to Tokyo. While Japan takes great pride in its punctual train system, this 20-second apology is a first for the East Asian nation.
Facts Behind Tsukuba Express’s Apology And Japan’s Pride in Punctuality
In the company’s formal apology, managers say the No. 5255 Tsukuba Express train bound for Tokyo’s Akihabara district arrived at Chiba’s Minami-Nagareyama Station on time at 9:43:4 0 AM. Apparently, the crewmembers were overzealous to get this train on the move and decided to close the train’s doors at 9:44:20 AM. According to the official timetable, however, the conductor should have left the station at 9:44:40 AM. Although nobody complained about this early departure, the management team at Tsukuba Express “sincerely [apologized] as:
“The event occurred as soon as possible. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to you by our customers.”
In case you were wondering, the Central Japan Railway Company estimates that they have an average annual delay of 0.9 minutes per operational train. If you couldn’t already tell, the Japanese take being on time very seriously. Only a handful of other nations (e.g., Germany and Switzerland) come close to Japan’s high standards for punctuality. Despite the island nation’s reputation for on-time departures, this 20-second apology might seem a bit excessive even for the Japanese. Most Tokyo residents give trains at least one minute before considering them officially too early or too late.
Tokyo Conductors More Vigilant After 20 Second Apology
Ignoring this 20-second glitch, Tokyo transportation officials expect everything to continue running smoothly in Japan’s train system. Tsukuba Express trains should arrive every four minutes at the 20 stops between the northern city of Tsukuba and the eastern Tokyo district of Akihabara. It usually takes 45 minutes to get from Tsukuba into Tokyo. Founded in 2005, the Tsukuba Express train can travel at high speeds of 81 miles per hour and transports at least 230,000 people every day.