Following the first announcement of the balance of each line section for deficit local lines at a national study meeting to discuss the ideal state of local railways nationwide whose survival is at stake, JR East also has a balance of lines within its jurisdiction. He expressed his intention to consider publishing.

It is expected that the railway operator will discuss whether to maintain the route or to switch to abandoned railway lines or buses after showing the severe business situation.

Approximately 20 people, including executives and experts from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and railway operators, attended the study meeting on the 18th, and organized the issues to be discussed in the future.

Among them, the attendees said that they had avoided discussions on local deficit lines so far, "If we do not discuss this time, the railway will be difficult", "Leaving all the lines as they are is irresponsible to the next generation. Opinions such as "become" were given.

In addition, at the study meeting on the 18th, keeping in mind that JR West announced the balance of each line section for the first time this month for the deficit local routes, the executives of JR East said, "If you make a balance, the impact will come out at once. If it can be provided as a material for constructive discussions, we would like to consider publicizing it. "

After that, the attendees showed the severe management situation on the railway operator side, and the local governments along the railway line also carefully listened to their opinions on the necessity of railways in the area, and whether the route should be maintained or discontinued or buses. There was an opinion that we should discuss whether we should make a change.

Professor Kenzo Takeuchi of Tokyo Woman's Christian University, who chairs the meeting, said, "I would like to deepen the discussion so that we can select the best policy, including railways and others, and secure a foothold in the region."

A study group of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is planning to summarize the direction by July.

Announcement of income and expenditure of JR West Various reactions from local governments along the railway line

On the 11th of this month, JR West announced the balance of payments for each of the 30 regional routes in Kinki, China, and Hokuriku, where the "transport density", which indicates the average number of people carried per kilometer per day, is less than 2000. It was announced for the first time.

On the other hand, local governments along the railway line have responded in various ways, such as showing their understanding of JR's harsh business conditions and criticizing the announcement with a view to discontinuing the railway line.

Governor Ibaragi of Okayama Prefecture said, "I heard that the highly profitable" dollar box route "makes up for routes with few users, but it is far lower than the profitable number. I felt it, "he said, recognizing that JR's management is becoming more difficult.

On the other hand, Governor Yuzaki of Hiroshima Prefecture said, "There is a story that there is a responsibility to shareholders, but if you pursue it, to put it in the extreme, all the deficit routes should be abolished. It is unclear whether it will go on. "

The company wants to share issues with local governments along the railway lines by disclosing specific income and expenditures, and wants to accelerate discussions on the future, including the conversion to bus routes.

Even in the JR East metropolitan area, there is a tight balance on suburban routes

Until now, JR East has not announced the balance of payments for each line, but on the lines in the metropolitan area that operate, not only the Yamanote Line and Saikyo Line, which have many users, but also the number of users other than commuting to school and work is small. We also have suburban routes that seem to have a tight balance.

Of these, the JR Hachiko Line has an average daily transportation density of more than 20,000 passengers per kilometer near Hachioji Station in Tokyo, while Hidaka, Saitama Prefecture. In the 60km section from Komagawa Station in the city to Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture, there are about 1600 people, which is less than one tenth.

The situation in which it was judged in the JNR era that "even if appropriate measures are taken, it is difficult to balance the balance of payments" remains unchanged, and JR East will reduce daily costs in order to maintain the route in the future. Is necessary.

A 68-year-old man on the Hachiko Line says, "Everyone says that elderly people need one when they go to the hospital or shopping, so it's better to have one per hour, two hours, or one. It's a difficult route without it. "

Also, a 20-year-old college student said, "Because there aren't many trains, I use other routes to go to school, so I only use it once every six months, such as when I go skiing in Niigata. As a local, I use it occasionally. I would be grateful if I had it, and I would be lonely if I didn't. "

Efforts to reduce costs by introducing a new JR line system in the suburbs of the Tokyo metropolitan area

For JR lines in the suburbs of the Tokyo metropolitan area, where there are few users, efforts have begun to introduce new systems to reduce labor and costs and maintain the lines.

The 60km section from Saitama Prefecture to Gunma Prefecture on the JR Hachiko Line has a particularly small number of users among the JR lines in the Tokyo metropolitan area, and the challenge is to reduce labor and costs in order to maintain the line. It has become.

In particular, equipment such as cables and sensors along railway lines that have been used for raising and lowering railroad crossing barriers and controlling train speeds require regular on-site inspections and repairs, which is a heavy burden in terms of manpower and cost. It was.

Therefore, JR East is considering the introduction of a system that grasps the position of trains by artificial satellites and conveys information to the command room via the wireless communication network of the mobile phone company to operate railroad crossings and control trains.

This system does not require cables or sensors, it can reduce maintenance costs such as railroad crossings by about one-third, and it is expected that the number of personnel will be reduced in the future, so JR aims to introduce it from the next fiscal year onwards. I am.

There are many deficit lines that are not profitable due to high costs while they are rarely used on local railways nationwide, and there are cases where they are discontinued, so the introduction of a new system maintains the lines without labor and cost. It will be noticed as an attempt to do.