Over 20 million people use public transport in the greater Tokyo area every day, and it is feared the arrival of more than 600,000 people visitors to the Olympic and Paralympic Games will overload the city’s notoriously strained system.
Japanese authorities hope that 600,000 people will work from home in July in a trial scheme tackling Olympic congestion on public transport.
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Toyko’s metro system is notoriously busy — an average of 3.64 million passengers pass through the city’s Shinjuku Station each day, which was crowned the world’s busiest station by the Guinness World Records and has over 200 exits. Home to nearly 38 million people, Greater Tokyo is the most populated metropolitan area on Earth.
In July, Google data showed Tokyo’s Chuo Line to be one of the world’s most-crowded transit lines, and the situation is not much better in other parts of the city. On rail and subway lines, train operators have been known to employ “oshiya” (or “pushers”), who are tasked with shoving passengers and bags inside packed carriages.
Experts have raised serious concerns about the impact of the Olympics, which will be held from July 24 to August 9 2020, and the subsequent Paralympics which finish on September 6.
“However, there is a possibility that number could increase one and a half times during the Olympics,” he said, warning that the subway system would be crippled if it was to reach 300 percent capacity.
More than 50,000 employees from Fujitsu and more than 10,000 workers from NEC will join the government scheme, which has been trialed on smaller scales since 2017. Ricoh will close its headquarters to allow 2,000 employees to work remotely.
63,000 people took part in the first trial in 2017, with the number jumping to 300,000 people from 1,682 organisations in 2018, METI confirmed.
CNN’s Lauren Said-Moorhouse contributed to this report.