One of Tokyo’s busiest subway lines is adding women-only cars

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The policy is designed to protect female passengers from groping.

There’s a lot to like Tokyo trains and subways that are clean, comfortable and reliable. However, that doesn’t mean they’re always fun to drive. During rush hour, trains are crowded to a comical and sometimes painful degree as commuters squeeze into overcrowded carriages.

What’s worse, sometimes in the dark, the so-called chican in Japanese, take advantage of these crowded conditions to feel the victims. Because the trains are so crowded, it can be difficult to quickly recognize that touching is intentional and where it’s coming from, often allowing the chikan to escape and leave the train before being identified, confronted, or apprehended.

As a countermeasure, some train operators designate certain cars as female only. Not every line in Tokyo has them, but the number that do is going to increase a bit soon because Tokyo Metropolitan Transportation Office announced that women-only cars would be introduced on Oedo line.

▼ Oedo line train

The Oedo line is the latest line in the industry Toei Subway network operated by the Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation. Among the neighborhoods it passes, however, there are Shinjuku, Shiodome, Daimon, Roppongi and Aoyama. These are one of the most populated office districts in the city, which means crowded commuter trains, so from mid-January Oedo Line 4 train car will be marked “Women Only” during the weekday morning rush hour.

▼ Notices will be placed outside the car and on the section of the platform/platform gates where car 4 stops.

The female-only rule for car 4 will apply to:
● All trains between 7 am and 8:30 am that departed from Hikarigaoka Station and departed towards Roppongi and Daimon Stations
● All trains between 7:15 a.m. and 8:10 a.m. that started at Tochomae Station and departed for Iidabashi and Ryogoku Stations

▼ It sounds complicated, but that’s because the Oedo line has an unusual shape of a fishhook. Essentially, the entire line will be under the women-only rule for car 4 during the weekday morning rush hour.

While some rail operators designate women-only carriages both in the morning and evening, the morning-only system is not uncommon. The logic is that while most office jobs in Japan start at 8 or 9, the time people leave work varies from company to company and from person to person and may or may not coincide with the time at which employees actually return home. Between overtime, corporate events, and personal socializing and inner-city entertainment, weekday evening rail passenger flow is not as concentrated in a small block of time as the morning rush hour.

The Oedo Line becomes the second Toei subway to introduce women-only cars, after the Shinjuku Line in 2005. Although the cars are labeled “women only”, the Transportation Office made it clear in the announcement that elementary school boys older and younger, adult males with mobility issues and their carers can also use the car 4 in blocks of “women only” time “.

Women-only cars go into effect on January 18.

Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Transportation Office by IT media
Top image: Wikipedia/Nyohoho
Insert images: Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation
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