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Animechic420



Joined: 25 Sep 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:07 pm Reply with quote
Sometimes I wish we(Americans) had the Shinkansen(bullet train).
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Jonny Mendes



Joined: 17 Oct 2014
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Location: Europe
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:11 pm Reply with quote
This information is pretty accurate. And is crazy how many private train company's operate in Greater Tokyo Area, so the prices can vary allot. But is a paradise for train otaku as myself.
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mgosdin



Joined: 17 Jul 2011
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Location: Kissimmee, Florida, USA
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:31 pm Reply with quote
Animechic420 wrote:
Sometimes I wish we(Americans) had the Shinkansen(bullet train).


Why we don't is a two word answer : Population Density. Only a few areas of the US come anywhere close to being able to support High Speed Rail, not to mention Light Rail or even Buses. Most of the USA there just aren't enough people to make it work.

As a US Railfan I've always been fascinated by Japan's railways, it's a complicated system that works well for them.

Mark Gosdin
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John Thacker



Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:34 pm Reply with quote
mgosdin wrote:


Why we don't is a two word answer : Population Density. Only a few areas of the US come anywhere close to being able to support High Speed Rail, not to mention Light Rail or even Buses. Most of the USA there just aren't enough people to make it work.


This is a lot of it, but the rest is another two word answer: Construction Costs. Due to an enormous variety of reasons, the US spends far more per mile to design and build mass transit than other countries, including Japan. Amtrak Northeast Corridor upgrades for Acela 2 cost more per linear distance than the new Chuo Shinkansen maglev tracks will, and at a far lower speed.
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Izanagi009



Joined: 20 Oct 2014
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:39 pm Reply with quote
As an American, I would love to have better transit in the country. I've lived in Singapore an visited Japan multiple times so I would love to have the more regular and reliable transit

Of course, our country is too spread out in terms of population density and there's too much existing infrastructure to deal with
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Dfens



Joined: 08 Feb 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:01 pm Reply with quote
I'm heading to Japan in a few days and have researched the train costs and was amazed how cheap and efficient they are.

Where I live we have two train companies and they both are ok one primarily runs in rundown areas with homeless on the trains sometimes. They usually cost $2.50-$3.00 each way for a short trip. Double that for a round trip. Sometimes for my job I take the train which I get reimbursed for that is only about 35-30 miles now costs about $16.00 dollars. And it keeps going up and up little by little every year.

In Japan you can travel one way as low as about $1.70 each way, usually on average no more than $2.20 each way. Now that same trip about distance wise it would only cost about $6.00 each way or less. And if you were traveling a lot you can by a day pass unlimited rides until midnight called a Toukunai Pass for $7.50 so if your travel is going to be under that just pay the actual fare. But that pass is only good in Tokyo and on JR Lines only.

Will be buying the Suica Card or electronic clipper card, which you do see in Anime in a wallet they touch to the gate to ride the train. You can add money to it at any train station.

And with parents not having to drive their kids to school and owing a car being super expensive in Japan being able to send their kids to school for $3.00-$4.00 bucks a day at most is a bargain.

We could never have nice public trains like in Japan because the stupid riff raff would just ruin it anyways by destroying everything or not paying to ride it. Their is a reason I don't ride trains or the bus unless I absolutely have to unlike in Japan, you can be mugged or assaulted.
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Aphasial



Joined: 08 Aug 2010
Posts: 72
Location: San Diego, CA
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:14 pm Reply with quote
mgosdin wrote:
Why we don't is a two word answer : Population Density. Only a few areas of the US come anywhere close to being able to support High Speed Rail, not to mention Light Rail or even Buses. Most of the USA there just aren't enough people to make it work.

Yeah, it amazes me how few realize how varied the US is in this regards. Aside from being 40x larger than countries the rail system is often compared to, the West is vastly underpopulated if you're trying to make something like that work. Here in CA we're spending ~$60B on a high-speed rail project that, in stage one, connects two small towns no one really goes to. Even at best, it won't make anywhere near financial sense when a plane ride between LA and SF is shorter and cheaper, and you typically still need a car once you get to your destination anyway.

For those that want the "experience" of rail, we already have regular rail connecting locations, which often passes through some very pretty countryside. For those that need to commute, there are more efficient options already.

In the East, it's an entirely different world of course. But in the West there are only specific corridors where it even starts to make sense. (LA/SD to Vegas being one.)

But still, I'd really love to see Japan's system someday.

John Thacker wrote:
This is a lot of it, but the rest is another two word answer: Construction Costs. Due to an enormous variety of reasons, the US spends far more per mile to design and build mass transit than other countries, including Japan. Amtrak Northeast Corridor upgrades for Acela 2 cost more per linear distance than the new Chuo Shinkansen maglev tracks will, and at a far lower speed.


Well, it would seem like a lot of that is just two sides of the same coin: costs rise as distance rises, and varied geographic challenges usually rise as distance rises.

The US *could* have built more infrastructure even back under New Deal/Hoover Dam-ish health, safety, and engineering cost structures, but didn't because it didn't make financial sense even then. Has rail cost grown in proportion to other types of construction cost (+allowances for land acquisition), or are their additional barriers like environmental review?
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varmintx



Joined: 31 Jul 2006
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Location: Covington, KY
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:16 pm Reply with quote
Graham and Kathleen of LoadingReadyRun did a vlog series about their trip to Japan and one of the topics they talk about often is the train system as they made their way around the country.
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maximilianjenus



Joined: 29 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:17 pm Reply with quote
american would have to give up their enormous houses if they want to make a method of transport other than driving, succesful.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:23 pm Reply with quote
mgosdin wrote:
Animechic420 wrote:
Sometimes I wish we(Americans) had the Shinkansen(bullet train).


Why we don't is a two word answer : Population Density. Only a few areas of the US come anywhere close to being able to support High Speed Rail, not to mention Light Rail or even Buses. Most of the USA there just aren't enough people to make it work.

As a US Railfan I've always been fascinated by Japan's railways, it's a complicated system that works well for them.


Although every time a lawmaker DOES want to experiment with the Neato Factor of bringing Japanese bullet-trains to the US, it's generally considered for the longest stretch of empty wilderness between two popular metropolises that would make a 300mph train useful: Las Vegas <->Los Angeles, with other SoCal stops in between.
There's no train service in or out of Vegas, and the West Coast, just a few hundred miles of commute away, would like to stop in more often, but way out in the desert, it can only be accessed by air, bus or highway road-trip.

Amtrak did try to bring the bullet-like high-speed Acela service into their Mid-Atlantic NY->Phil->DC corridor, which has enough population density to keep half of Amtrak's business going singlehandedly, but it's so up against brief stops, old tracks and competing regional commuter rail, it rarely gets the chance to get up to the speed it advertises.
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Zin5ki
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Joined: 06 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:56 pm Reply with quote
At last, a railway question!
Justin wrote:
Unlike, say, New York City's subway system, the Tokyo trains charge both per ride and by zone.

This is the case chez moi, and my assumption would be that something similar is the default for most light railway networks. A single-fare system for individual rides is morally admirable, but likely to be politically unachievable in most cities.
Quote:
There are monthly, three and six month passes for commuters, but those are highly regimented passes that must be purchased for a specific trip that's taken every day. They're useless for going off outside of your normal work/school-home path. Consequently, non-commuting trips most people are paying on a per-ride basis.

Such an arrangement bears a greater resemblance to a heavy-rail season ticket than anything more urban. Does the Tokyo Metro not offer zone-restricted unlimited travel passes to ordinary commuters? As someone who is used to such a liberty, it would strike me as quite an oversight for there to be no equivalent.
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kemuri-_9



Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 3
Location: Tokyo, Japan
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:17 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Privately owned rail lines, such as the Yurikamome line that takes you out to Odaiba and Tokyo Big Sight, can be a little more expensive.

This is hinting/inferring at the JR line system being government owned/operated. It was originally, but it was privatized in the 80's to where there is now currently no government owned/operated rail lines in Japan, all lines are currently privately owned and operated.
Though in people's minds and terminologies there is a lingering thinking that the JR is government operated from the time it was.

Quote:
There are monthly, three and six month passes for commuters, but those are highly regimented passes that must be purchased for a specific trip that's taken every day.

For these "teikiken" passes, you can take these routes as many times in a day as you want, and you're also not limited to getting on or off at the "terminal points" of your purchased route pass. As long as you get on and off the train at or between the "terminal points", there's no fee.

Quote:
Suica can also be used as a refillable cash card, good at convenience stores and newspaper stands. There's also a Pasmo card which has been around longer and is pretty much the same thing these days, although there's no cute penguin iconography, so its desirability may be somewhat lower.


The Pasmo cards are often issued by the train office when purchasing the aforementioned "teikiken" passes, so they're still quite often used.

Also there is an additional bonus to using the Suica or other IC (intelligent chip) cards for paying train fare that wasn't mentioned - there's a slight discount!

For my trip within Tokyo, between where I live and the school I commute, buying a ticket at the ticket machine costs 240 Yen, but paying with Suica costs 237.
There's similar discounts for all the lines I've used so far.

There is an up front cost for buying the Suica card, but for frequent travelers, this will eventually pay itself off in price. (the convenience of not having to buy the "paper" tickets every time is is also pretty awesome in itself)


As for buying a "teikiken" pass (the one, three, or six month passes) these are actually a really good deal if you are going to be using the train for work or school.

Utilizing my aforementioned trip (of 240 Yen a ride)
For the round trip (1 day) it's 480,
For a week (5 days) it's 2400,
For 6 months (26 weeks) it's 62400.

The adult 6 month pass for this route is 46,550 Yen, that's 25% off.
The (adult) student (college or vocational school student) 6 month pass for this route is 25,490 Yen, that's 60% off.


Child ticket prices are just about half of the adult fare price on Tokyo Metro.


The IC cards are accepted at a lot of places outside of transit, though they can not be used for purchasing bullet train tickets. Bullet train tickets still have to be paid for in cash.


Last edited by kemuri-_9 on Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:29 pm; edited 2 times in total
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kemuri-_9



Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 3
Location: Tokyo, Japan
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:28 pm Reply with quote
Zin5ki wrote:
Does the Tokyo Metro not offer zone-restricted unlimited travel passes to ordinary commuters? As someone who is used to such a liberty, it would strike me as quite an oversight for there to be no equivalent.

Tokyo Metro does offer this, it's just not often used by locals, because the fixed route passes are cheaper.
The details on the unlimited pass can be found at http://www.tokyometro.jp/lang_en/ticket/types/pass/all/index.html
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omiya



Joined: 21 Sep 2011
Posts: 1256
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:36 pm Reply with quote
A few references that might explain the system better:

JR East page on the smart cards: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/suica.html

and on that page, the coverage map:

http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/routemaps/pdf/RouteMap_majorrailsub.pdf

The compatibility of these cards is fairly high. There are a few advantages to specific cards.

Trains will sometimes run late, safety is a good reason for delays. On my last trip a farmer had himself and his vehicle too close to the tracks and the train driver brought the train to a stop between stations and reported the incident, resuming a few minutes later.


Last edited by omiya on Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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relyat08



Joined: 20 Mar 2013
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Location: Northern Virginia
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:14 pm Reply with quote
That sounds a lot more complicated than I expected, to be honest. It is super cheap though, compared to most US metro systems that I've been on.
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