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miyakoji

JR Kyushu to undertake large project to eliminate staff at least-used stations

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miyakoji

Posted by Christopher Hood to the jtrains mailing list, this is surprising:

 

http://newsonjapan.com/html/newsdesk/article/111021.php

 

JR Kyushu wants to eliminate staff at even its largest stations, except shinkansen stations, by next year.  The article says that their rail operations took a 15.6 trillion yen loss last year.

 

I really can't see major stations totally unmanned.  Maybe the intention is to change to contract employees rather than salaried JR Kyushu seishain?

Edited by miyakoji

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Densha

My guess is that the article mixed up big with small. Hundred smaller stations without any staff does makes more sense and that's actually what the article is also about so far I understand it.

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kvp

As far as google translate helps me to understand, the original japanese language article mentions a large scale conversion of around 100 stations to unmanned operation, the elimination of board crews from express trains (except tourist trains) and closure of most green windows (ticket booths), except at stations frequented by tourists. They are doing this to save lines that are currently unprofitable to operate.

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Densha

Even in the Netherlands where they have already thinned out the amount of staff very much it would be unthinkable to remove board crews from expresses.

Let alone the facts that firing so many people at once and having such a reduction of service quality is something that is usually not-done in Japan so far I know.

 

How many stations does JR Kyushu have now?

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miyakoji

I hadn't found this link to a Japanese-language article.  Yes, looking at this, I think "saidai" expresses that the scope of the "unmanning project" is the largest in post-JNR history, it's not the unmanning of the largest stations.  Good call.

 

But can someone else take a look at this and confirm:

 

http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASH1J633BH1JTIPE02Z.html

Edited by miyakoji
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bikkuri bahn

It's a mistranslation (pretty bad one at that).  It's up to 100 stations, likely the smaller regional stations on unprofitable routes currently with (for example) one or two staffers with one manning a ticket window.  Ltd. expresses will lose in-train services such as trolley services, which is also the trend on JR East.  Of course there still will be a guard on each train.

 

In addition to what miyakoji noted, I think the idea of "biggest stations" came from this: [大規模な駅の無人化を計画 ....],

Which means a big plan to increase unstaffed stations, not a plan to make big stations unstaffed.

Edited by bikkuri bahn
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nartak

Already everyone got the detail.  Let me add some more from the article.

- Currently 281 stations out of 566 JRK's stations are already unmanned.

- Planning to unmanning some non-busy stations even at Fukuoka commuter area.

- By this spring, majority of the station will be unmanned.

 

Not reporting about headcount will be laid off, so those employees will simply move to different position within the company I believe.

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Guest ___

I'd have to say a very high number of stations while in Miyazaki in 08 were unstaffed. I was surprised by this as it was the first time I had ever seen said stations while in Japan. However, these were small station served by KiHa 40's, and they had fareboxes at the cab, so it made sense.

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Sacto1985

I'm actually kind of surprised there hasn't been thought about putting in IC pass readers on the train itself. That way, IC passes become useful even at unmanned stations, if they can work out the logistics.

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miyakoji

Could be a question of passengers getting on and off the train quickly. I think what you've described would hold things up.

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katoftw

Correct, it slow boarding and unboarding.  But if we are talking about some of the rural lines.  Then maybe it might not be so much of an issue.  But in saying that, Flipping a IC card or throwing some money in a machine probably takes the same amount of time.

 

The one difference with introducing IC card machines is the cost.  The point of the exercise is to save money.  Adding IC equipment is just another cost preventing money saving.

 

Thing is that Japan when it comes to service and providing jobs.  They'll loose money to keep those things.  Especially a company like JR Kyushu that has a goverment help fund of over 300 billion yen.  But since the goverment is floating the company to the public, and that help fund may be taken away from them soon.  Then they don't wanna loose money like they have been.

Edited by katoftw

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Sacto1985

Could be a question of passengers getting on and off the train quickly. I think what you've described would hold things up.

 

My suggestion is only for more rural lines, where wanman (ワンマン ) train operations are very common. It would certainly work for the more remote stations on the Hokuriku Main Line (and its successor lines once the Hokuriku Shinkansen opens in March 2015).

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bikkuri bahn

Adding IC equipment is just another cost preventing money saving.

 

The cost of investing in pieces of equipment is trivial compared to labor costs. 

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westfalen

The legacy of privatising by splitting into profitable and unprofitable groups is coming home to roost, we've also seen it in the spate of accidents in Hokkaido.  JR East and Central will always do better than the others.

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railsquid

I'm actually kind of surprised there hasn't been thought about putting in IC pass readers on the train itself. That way, IC passes become useful even at unmanned stations, if they can work out the logistics.

 

Dunno about Kyushu, but there are certainly many lines in other areas with driver-only operation where like on a bus the driver collects fares when people leave the train (just like on any bus with variable fares). And just like buses, these trains now havve IC pass readers, which make life easier for everyone.

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bikkuri bahn

another thing, IC farecards are only used in metro areas (urban network).  I reckon many of the stations are in rural areas outside of the IC farecard area (and also have a different tariff system)- no IC faregates will be installed, people will just have to buy their tickets from the guard for those services that have them, or in case of short rides or DOO, just drop the coins in the farebox, bus style.

Edited by bikkuri bahn

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katoftw

The cost of investing in pieces of equipment is trivial compared to labor costs. 

You missed the point.  With ways of already paying, hy would they invest in more pieces of equipment to do the same job?

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