Drunken revellers, rejoice! This festive season you can snooze past your train stop all you like—the rescue bus has got you covered!
As we’ve discussed before, Japan’s trains tend to stop running a little on the early side. And, with so many commuters relying almost entirely on the train services to get around, this can be a huge problem if you miss the last train of the day. Similarly, succumbing to the combined effects of too much boozing and the soporific rocking of the train carriage means that plenty of passengers find themselves, having caught the last train, accidentally missing their stop. In some ways, that’s even worse than missing the train completely, since you can wind up a really long way away from where you meant to disembark with little knowledge of the area you’ve found yourself in.
Luckily for certain slumberous passengers, a new ‘rescue’ bus service is being rolled out just in time for the festive season. The bus service will operate between Takao Station, the final stop on the busy Chuo Line, and Hachioji Station. The bus itself doesn’t actually run very far, but Hachioji has plenty of cheap hotels and open-all-hours establishments in which to hole up, while Takao Station itself has hardly any; hardly a town to find yourself stuck in on a cold winter’s night.
The service will run for a limited period of time on certain days in December, during which many “bonenkai” or end-of-year parties are held. At 880 yen (US$7), it’s a little costly, but it’s certainly cheaper than having to shell out for a hotel room, and much more comfortable than a night on the frigid streets.
The service has already drawn plenty of praise from passengers, with many expressing a wish that the service would become permanent and eventually be rolled out on other lines, too.