The Japanese public transportation system is of crucial importance. It ties cities and metropolitan areas by connecting businesses with laborers and customers; households with retail, restaurants, entertainment, and other places of public life. As a means of providing affordable mobility, it is a conductor for the country’s welfare and economy.
Japanese rely on railways
Railways are the country’s main method of passenger transport, allowing fast and frequent access within and between major cities and metropolitan areas. Shinkansen, or bullet trains, are high-speed trains connecting the country from the northern island of Hokkaido to the southern parts of Kyushu. With few exceptions, Shinkansen trains run on entirely separate lines from their regional train counterparts.
Commuter rail and high-capacity rapid transit link Japan’s suburban areas with its urban centers, allowing individuals to move away from the hustling, bustling city centers to more spacious and affordable accommodations in the outskirts. Japan’s metropolitan railways are notorious for their packed trains during rush hour, but commuters in Tokyo have to tolerate the most crowded railway lines.
What are other common modes of public transportation in Japan?
Japan’s other modes of public transportation include automobiles, aircraft, and ferries. Public buses usually serve as basic public transportation in rural areas. In urban areas, bus lines supplement the rail network - or long-distance bus services and airport shuttles compete with it. However, like the railway, the bus industry struggles with the ramifications of Japan’s demographic development, especially in rural areas.
The COVID-19 pandemic perturbed all means of public transportation, but airlines and airport operators took a comparatively heavy blow to their passenger numbers, even losing passengers in 2021 again. Yet, they somewhat reduced their financial losses. Dependent on zero-interest loans and tax reductions, they are still far from sustainable finances.
The archipelago naturally also depends on maritime transportation. Ferries connect the four main islands and link smaller islands with the country’s main harbors. Nonetheless, passenger ferries carry only a minuscule fraction of total traffic.
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