It was announced on the 8nd that the LRT = next-generation tramway connecting Utsunomiya City and Haga Town in Tochigi Prefecture will open on all lines on August 26.

Utsunomiya City, neighboring Haga Town, and the LRT operating company held a joint press conference in the city on the 2nd.

Among them, it was officially announced that LRT = next-generation tram, which cities and towns have been developing with the aim of creating a city where everyone can live comfortably, will open on all lines on August 8.

The section is about 26.14 kilometers from the east side of JR Utsunomiya Station to the industrial park in the town.

Regarding this LRT, the scheduled opening was postponed twice due to delays in land acquisition and construction along the line, and from March last year to August this year, the project cost was more than 6 billion yen, about 2.3 times the initial amount.

In November last year, an accident occurred in which a vehicle that was in trial operation derailed in Utsunomiya City, and an expert committee set up by the city and other organizations has been investigating the cause.

As a result, a final report was submitted to the city on May 8, stating that "it can be determined that there are no driving safety problems."

In the future, the city will apply to the national government for approval regarding the start of operation and fares.

Depending on the country, LRT has been introduced in Toyama City, Hiroshima City, etc., but it is the first time in Japan that new rails are built on all lines without utilizing existing tracks.

Eiichi Sato, the mayor of Utsunomiya City, said, "I think that with the suggestions and guidance of various people, we have grown into a business that has reached this point."

In addition, Kazuo Ozeki, the mayor of Haga Town, said, "I am confident that it will have a great effect on improving traffic conditions and increasing the number of people coming and going."

What was the reaction of the people of the city?

Regarding the announcement of the opening date of the LRT, various voices were heard around the east exit of JR Utsunomiya Station, where the bus stop will be located.

A man in his 20s from Utsunomiya City said, "I thought the opening would be delayed further due to the derailment, so I am thinking of using it for commuting. I'm glad that I don't have to worry about traffic jams."

Another woman in her 80s in the city said, "I get in my daughter's car for shopping, so I may not have many opportunities to use it, but I would like to ride with my friends at least once as a matter of conversation."

A man in his 1s from Haga Town said, "I would like to use it if a parking lot is built around the bus stop, and since it must cost a lot of money due to derailments and postponements of opening, I want it to be worthwhile."