Most countries could only dream of the efficiency that Japanese train companies have, and it was proved once again when a train departed just 20 seconds early and led to the company providing an apology to its customers.
Commuters rely on the northbound train at Minami Nagareyama Station which leaves every morning at 9:44 AM. On November 14, the train left 20 seconds too early, instead departing the station at 9:43:40. No customers complained about the screw up, but it seems the train company was still upset enough about the error that they issued a public apology on their website.
“On November 14, at approximately 9:44 a.m., a northbound Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company (main office in Tokyo, Chiyoda Ward, President & CEO Koichi Yugi) train left Minami Nagareyama Station roughly 20 seconds earlier than the time indicated on the timetable. We deeply apologize for the severe inconvenience imposed upon our customers,” it read.
The company stated that it was an error with the staff, who had not “properly checked the timetable.”
The Tsukuba Express, which the train was operating on, takes passengers from eastern Tokyo to Akihabara in just 45 minutes. It has been noted by various media outlets that Japanese trains are rarely late or differ from their schedule. As such, for Japanese railways, the 20 second divergence was actually a pretty big deal.
Commuters around the world took to social media to laugh at the mishap, saying this is something that would never happen in their country. Many of the tweets and replies can from the United Kingdom, where trains are notorious for delays due to railway issues or strikes.
“Apology after Japanese train departs 20 seconds early”.
Read; weep; read; laugh,” wrote user Alastair Stewart on Twitter, including Britain’s National Rail Network and Southern Rail in his mentions.
Jaded New Yorkers also cracked a smile at the story, saying Penn Station would never issue an apology of this kind.