Tokyo Wonderground: fall in love with Tokyo Metro

A recent campaign by Tokyo Metro shows the wonder of traveling underground.

11 replies

  1. I love Japanese ads. Although I wonder why the Tokyo Metro needs ads like that.

    But nice views of tunnels, faregates, Japanese subway uniforms… very professional look for police, airline attendants, subway operators, station guides….

  2. It may be a Wunderground at certain times of the daytime, but I’ll bet that at rush hour you are still packed like sardines. I remember getting on the subway years ago at rush hour by the New Otani Hotel – and was forced off by the crowd exiting at the next station. And I wonder if they have escalators and elevators at all stations – I recall climbing 3 sets of 47 steps many time.

  3. Note how at 0:24 they show people going through the fare gates bi-directionally without clogging up human traffic. Why can’t we have awesome faregates like that?

  4. Why take the subway when you can take the Yamanote-Sen (山手線) above it all (or a bus)?

  5. @James
    Over here, we have Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, etc. all competing for the average Angelino’s market share in which car they should buy.

    Over in Tokyo, it’s just the exact opposite: you have a myriad of private rail companies, Toei bus lines, Tokyo Metro, Yurikamome, monorails, and JR commuter trains all competing for the ridership market share of 30 million Tokyoites. It’s bad enough Tokyo Metro has to compete with JR, they also have to compete with private rail companies like Odakyu, Seibu, Toubu, Keihin, Keikyu, Keisei etc. which are all publicly traded companies on the Tokyo Stock Exchange whose primary goal is to earn profits for shareholders. Competition is tough so Tokyo Metro has to advertise why they are better than others.
    Plus, ads like these also helps the businesses that operate at the stations Tokyo Metro operates and to let their presence be known to corporations to place advertisements and billboards inside the subway. You’re talking about millions of Tokyoites using public transit every day; I’m sure Tokyo Metro would want to keep the business owners happy and ensure continued ad revenues.

  6. @Ciacci

    You’re talking about a region that has over 35 million people residing in a metropolitan area the size of Los Angeles County who all depend on public transit to get to work. Tokyo’s public transportation ridership has to serve daily ridership numbers that well outnumbers what LA Metro does in an entire year. Of course it’s hell commuting to work everyday in jammed packed trains; and this is despite that you have eight to ten rail car sets coming in at 1 minute intervals, all seats being folded upwards to maximize standing room space, and trains operating with mixes of local, limited, and express stops based on hard transit numbers.

    But what else is there for Tokyo? It’s not like there’s an option to give everyone a car for the 35 million residents living in the Tokyo proper; that’ll create a traffic chaos that’s more worse than Tokyo already has today. LA County already is suffering with traffic jams and we only have a population less than 10 million. Imagine what traffic jams would be like in Tokyo where they have 35 million living in a similarly sized area.

    BTW, those are not turnstiles, those are fare gates whose main purpose was built to check fares while maintain a smooth flow of human traffic, not obstruct them. And as far as I have seen when I visited there last November there were no pushing and shoving going on to get through them, even during rush hour:

  7. Most cities in the US and in Europe uses a turnstile/gate system like this:

    The system is based upon “stop-check-go,” which is very simple. But the con in this system as many mentioned (and they are right) is that it slows down the overall human traffic flow because of it’s stop-and-go system. It also has heavy wear and tear to the gates and do requires constant maintenance because it locks up every time.

    OTOH, the gate system in Asia, or as Anna once referred to as “speed gates,” do exactly the opposite: the gates are kept open to smoothen traffic flow and it only locks up only when needed, reducing wear and tear and long term maintenance costs.

    The two systems do look similar and they do similar things at first glace, but the approach is very different. The latter “open gate but close only when needed” approach works best in very public transit dependent cities like Tokyo where consistent human traffic flow is vital to keeping millions of Tokyoites moving efficiently on a daily basis.

  8. I have to wonder how much tax dollars LA Metro wasted in buying TAP-only turnstiles from Cubic when they could’ve just bought these Japanese fare gates that accept both paper tickets, paper passes and TAP cards. We wouldn’t be having this paper versus TAP mess that we have today and those fare gates will already be in action by now.

  9. My experience with Tokyo’s transit system has been that direct, head-to-head competition was actually very limited.

    Yes, there is Tokyo Metro, JR and dozens of private railway lines, but if you look at a map, most of those rail lines don’t go the same places. If you need to get to a specific location in Kawagoe, Saitama, you take the Tobu Tojo Line. No ad is going to change your commute pattern.

    In some cases, the Tokyo Metro even links up with some of the private rail lines.

    The railways also cooperate on Suica, which is the Tokyo region’s TAP card.

  10. @James

    That may be the perception as a traveler to Tokyo, but as a person who lives and works in the Tokyo proper, it’s a whole different matter.

    Remember that all agencies, private or public in Japan runs on a distance fare system. The variation of the total trip cost could vary by plus or minus 50-100 yen or so depending on which company you ride on. And the Tokyo Metro distance fare rates tends to be a bit more higher than the rest.

    Now for the average traveler to Tokyo, the 50-100 yen total cost difference between the Tokyo Metro and the others may not be a big deal. But to average Tokyoites who live and work there, that 50-100 yen difference could add up to a lot of money over the course of the entire year.

    Moreso with internet technology like goo, Yahoo, and Google Transit, it’s now more easier than ever for Tokyoites to compare and contrast transit time versus the fare.
    A way a Tokyoite would actually travel would be like:
    1. Use his/her cell phone app and enter in current location and destination
    2. List shows various ways to get there using a huge permutation of private and public agencies, subways, and commuter trains
    3. List also shows transit time and the fare to get there
    4. The Tokyoite has choices: get there in 10 min at a total cost of 280 yen using one subway line, or get there in 15 min at a total cost of 230 yen with a transfer between a private rail and the JR commuter train
    5. That 50 yen difference built up throughout the year can add up to as much as 26000 yen (USD $338) in savings for that commuter.

    Another example would be a commuter getting to work:
    1. Tokyoite lives in Point A and works at Point B
    2. In the past, that Tokyoite would’ve probably just walked 5 minutes to JR Station A to JR Station B at a cost of say 400 yen one way.
    3. Along comes the internet and now it tells that Tokyoite there are actually more options that he/she could choose from such as
    4. “Instead of using the JR commuter train, you can actually take this private rail company’s station that’s only 10 minutes by walk from your home, then transfer to a Toei bus, then your trip can go down to 310 yen oneway”
    5. Then it becomes a choice; save 90 yen one way which can add up to a huge savings throughout the year but at a price of walking additional 5 minutes to a private rail station and transferring onto a bus. Hmm, decisions, decisions.

    So while there may not look like there’s competition to the average visitor to Japan, when looked at from a Tokyoite perspective, there actually is fierce competition going on between the various agencies.