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Old March 29th, 2013, 11:09 PM   #5221
Svartmetall
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Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Okayama City unveils new digital signage at JR Okayama Station bus terminals
http://www.sanyo.oni.co.jp/news_s/ne...3032921281715/



These are new large-screen (2.6 m × 1.3 m) departure boards at JR Okayama Station, designed to allow passengers to see departure times for the next 20 buses leaving the East Exit and West Exit bus terminals. The system covers all bus companies operating at the station, and arranges departures by time, showing destination, route, departure platform, and operating company. Three units are installed—one at the general information center at the East Exit bus terminal and two on the second level of the station (one each near the faregates for the zairaisen and Shinkansen). They will begin operating on 2013.03.31.

There are 13 platforms at the East Exit and 2 platforms at the West Exit, and there are six different bus companies operating out of the station. The departure boards help to simplify the situation for passengers by consolidating schedules in a single location. The units cost a total of ¥19 million.

Action at the East Exit bus terminal (2012.08.20 and 2012.08.21)
This is something fantastic and it is something that is very common in Stockholm (and something I wish would be replicated elsewhere). It makes waiting for buses far more comfortable when you know exactly how long it is to wait without having to consult a paper timetable. Also, including all operators in one place is a blessing.
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Old March 29th, 2013, 11:11 PM   #5222
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Tōbu to break ground on mega-solar plant
http://response.jp/article/2013/03/29/194792.html

Quote:
東武鉄道は、子会社の東武エネルギーマネジメントが栃木県佐野市の東武佐野線葛生駅南側土地で大規模太陽光発電(メガソーラー)事業を展開すると発表した。

新設する大規模太陽光発電設備で、発電電力量を年間約128万kwhを想定している。これは一般家庭約350世帯分の年間電力消費量に相当、CO2削減量は年間約402万トンを見込む。

太陽光システムメーカーは、工事の発注先である千代田組経由で東芝とする。

東武グループでは、社有地など保有資産を有効活用し、環境の負荷低減への対策を進め、持続可能な活力ある低炭素・循環型社会づくりの一助にするため、再生可能エネルギーの固定価格買取制度を活用した大規模太陽光発電事業に参入する。

2013年7月の発電開始を目指して工事に着手した。

今後、太陽光利用をはじめとする発電事業、再生可能エネルギーの活用、鉄道・分譲事業への展開に向けてのノウハウを蓄積し、事業展開を加速させる意向だ。

東武鉄道、メガソーラー事業に参入


東武佐野線葛生駅 貨物ヤード跡地
This is new solar power plant to be constructed by Tōbu Railway subsidiary Tōbu Energy Management on 16,000 sq m of Tōbu-owned land (former freight terminal) south of Kuzū Station in Sano City, Tochigi Prefecture on the Tōbu Sano Line. The plant will consist of 4,752 panels, generating 1.28 million kWh annually (enough to power 350 households for one year). The manufacturer of the solar equipment is Tōshiba.

Official Tōbu press release:
http://www.tobu.co.jp/file/pdf/5a151...20130327102016
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Old March 29th, 2013, 11:12 PM   #5223
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Four mayors call for preservation of Seibu lines
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/2013...546461000.html

Quote:
西武鉄道の親会社、「西武ホールディングス」に対し、アメリカの投資ファンドがTOB=株式の公開買い付けに乗り出したことを受けて、西武線沿線にある東京・多摩地域の4つの市の市長が緊急の記者会見を開き、沿線の自治体が協力して鉄道路線の存続を求めていくことを明らかにしました。

アメリカの投資ファンド「サーベラス」は、筆頭株主となっている「西武ホールディングス」に対し、今月からTOBに乗りだし、3分の1を超える株式の取得を目指しています。
これを受けて、西武線沿線にある東村山市、小平市、国分寺市、東大和市の4つの市の市長が東村山市役所に集まり、緊急の記者会見を開きました。
4市を代表して東村山市の渡部尚市長が、「沿線住民の生命線として、都心へのアクセスや観光を充実させるためにも西武線は欠かすことのできない公共交通機関だ」と訴えました。
そして沿線の自治体が協力して、西武やサーベラス、それに国などに対し、鉄道路線の存続を求めていくことを明らかにしました。
今回のTOBを巡り、西武側は、鉄道路線のうち国分寺線や多摩湖線など5つの路線の廃止を求める提案が、サーベラスからあったと主張しているのに対し、サーベラスは「路線廃止などの提案や要請はしていないし、今後もするつもりはない」と否定しています。
There’s an NHK video report in the article.

More fallout from the announcement that Cerberus is launching a takeover bid of the railway group and wants Seibu to abandon the Chichibu Line. The mayors of four cities in the Tama region of western Tōkyō located along the Seibu network—Higashi-Murayama, Kodaira, Kokubunji, and Higashi-Yamato—held a joint press conference to stress the importance of retaining passenger rail service on Seibu’s network. Seibu has a lot of minor lines in western Tōkyō, including the Kokubunji, Tamako, and Tamagawa Lines, although I don’t think any of these are at the same risk as Chichibu Line of being abandoned. Then again, I don’t think the Chichibu Line will be abandoned either… Like FML says, if worse comes to worst, it will be inherited by the local governments and operated as a third-sector railway.

The conflict between Cerberus and Seibu has also sparked some comments from JR Central, which said it may not be a bad idea to establish a one-third limit on foreign investment in railways similar to domestic airlines, given that railways have an intrinsic public value.
http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNAS...20C13A3TJ2000/

Quote:
 東海旅客鉄道(JR東海)の山田佳臣社長は29日の記者会見で、西武ホールディングス(HD)と同社筆頭株主の米投資会社サーベラスが対立している問題に触れ、「鉄道も航空と同様に外資規制を導入する考え方もある」と述べた。航空法で外資は国内航空会社に3分の1以上出資できない。同様に公共性が高い鉄道でも外資規制の議論が浮上する可能性がある。

 西武HDが設置した有識者会議に、JR東海の葛西敬之会長が名を連ねた点にも言及。「鉄道事業者の仲間として意見する目的。ディフェンス(防衛)とか、そういう問題ではない」と話した。
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Old March 29th, 2013, 11:13 PM   #5224
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Tōkyō Governor Inose discuss subway consolidation with NYC mayor
http://www.asahi.com/politics/update...303290264.html

Quote:
猪瀬直樹・東京都知事は4月14日から約1週間訪米し、地下鉄を一元化したニューヨーク市のブルームバーグ市長と会談する。東京メトロと都営地下鉄の経営一元化に向け、先行事例を視察する。

 同市は1940年代に地下鉄3社が統合し、現在、大都市交通公社が地下鉄を運営する。市長との会談では、同じ大都市として交通の利便性向上などについて意見を交わす予定。市内の地下鉄も視察し、24時間運行を実現した経緯や、一元化によるサービス向上の実例を見るという。

 地下鉄一元化をめぐっては、東京メトロを所管する国が経営統合に難色を示しているが、4月以降に国と都の協議が約2年ぶりに再開する見通しとなっている。
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Old March 29th, 2013, 11:18 PM   #5225
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Four mayors call for preservation of Seibu lines
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/2013...546461000.html



There’s an NHK video report in the article.

More fallout from the announcement that Cerberus is launching a takeover bid of the railway group and wants Seibu to abandon the Chichibu Line. The mayors of four cities in the Tama region of western Tōkyō located along the Seibu network—Higashi-Murayama, Kodaira, Kokubunji, and Higashi-Yamato—held a joint press conference to stress the importance of retaining passenger rail service on Seibu’s network. Seibu has a lot of minor lines in western Tōkyō, including the Kokubunji, Tamako, and Tamagawa Lines, although I don’t think any of these are at the same risk as Chichibu Line of being abandoned. Then again, I don’t think the Chichibu Line will be abandoned either… Like FML says, if worse comes to worst, it will be inherited by the local governments and operated as a third-sector railway.

The conflict between Cerberus and Seibu has also sparked some comments from JR Central, which said it may not be a bad idea to establish a one-third limit on foreign investment in railways similar to domestic airlines, given that railways have an intrinsic public value.
http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNAS...20C13A3TJ2000/
So a US firm wants to gut railways in another country like they were gutted in the US? Nice idea... Hopefully the takeover will be blocked. The Japanese market doesn't need a player like that on the field.
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Old March 30th, 2013, 03:03 AM   #5226
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Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
So a US firm wants to gut railways in another country like they were gutted in the US? Nice idea... Hopefully the takeover will be blocked. The Japanese market doesn't need a player like that on the field.
Don't be too quick in your judgement. Sometimes Japanese companies like to have foreign investors pressure them into unpopular measures because it puts the blame on the evil foreigners who just don't understand Japan. Could be that Seibu wants to get rid of the Chichibu Line but can't announce it because of the media fallout...

That said, the question here is how deep the gap between revenue and cost for that line really is, and whether it can be fixed by promoting tourism and other measures.
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Old March 30th, 2013, 04:20 PM   #5227
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Where can I buy an Icoca at Kansai airport? And will it be accepted on Nankai trains (even the Airport train)?

Thanks.
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Old March 30th, 2013, 08:44 PM   #5228
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Well, it's the same as any IC card system in Japan... Just purchase from the designated TVMs that say "IC Card / Charge". Of course, just make sure you are at the JR West half of the station.



As for getting onto Nankai trains with the card, I always tell people that the farecard only gets you past the faregates in Japan... That's fine for regular train services where you are not guaranteed a seat and only paying a base fare for the distance you want to travel (like a standard subway or urban train). But if you are riding a limited express with reserved seating (these are usually the named services like Narita Express, Keisei Skyliner, Haruka, rapi:t, Odakyū's Romancecar trains, etc.), you will need to purchase an additional ticket (a 特急券, or limited express ticket) to "buy" your seat reservation on the train. So when you ride these types of trains, you actually need two tickets. The farecard will only cover the distance portion of the fare—ICOCA is fine for Nankai, as ICOCA and PiTaPa are interoperable, and you can use it to take a regular Nankai train to wherever. To ride rapi:t with ICOCA (or PiTaPa, for that matter), you'd need to purchase the limited express ticket from the TVMs. I don't remember how the setup is at Nankai's TVMs at KIX, but it's either one of two situations: you purchase from specially designated TVMs that say "limited express ticket", or you just select on the TVM touch screen that you only want a "limited express ticket". Alternatively, you can just buy it at the staffed counter right next to the TVMs (see Nankai Tourist Support Center)... I think if you tell them you want to ride rapi:t to xx station and just show them you already have an ICOCA card, they will understand:
http://www.howto-osaka.com.e.iv.hp.t...ailway/ticket/

If I confused you more than you were before, try seeing here:
http://www.japan-guide.com/forum/que...y.html?0+97188

Or "train categories" here:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2016.html

Once you have the limited express ticket, you board by tapping the card to the faregate reader and inserting the limited express ticket into the faregate.
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Old March 31st, 2013, 05:48 PM   #5229
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New low floor streetcar testing in Sapporo

The model designation is A1200. It was delivered about two weeks ago to the Sapporo Transportation Bureau from Alna Sharyo of Osaka. It's the first low floor streetcar in Sapporo's roster. Revenue service is planned to begin at the beginning of May.


*at the Susukino terminus
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Old March 31st, 2013, 07:18 PM   #5230
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Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Okayama City unveils new digital signage at JR Okayama Station bus terminals
http://www.sanyo.oni.co.jp/news_s/ne...3032921281715/

These are new large-screen (2.6 m × 1.3 m) departure boards at JR Okayama Station, designed to allow passengers to see departure times for the next 20 buses leaving the East Exit and West Exit bus terminals. The system covers all bus companies operating at the station, and arranges departures by time, showing destination, route, departure platform, and operating company. Three units are installed—one at the general information center at the East Exit bus terminal and two on the second level of the station (one each near the faregates for the zairaisen and Shinkansen). They will begin operating on 2013.03.31.

There are 13 platforms at the East Exit and 2 platforms at the West Exit, and there are six different bus companies operating out of the station. The departure boards help to simplify the situation for passengers by consolidating schedules in a single location. The units cost a total of ¥19 million.
There's already like this at the Temporary Transbay Terminal in San Francisco, but the actual NextBus times are only available for Muni, AC Transit, and WestCAT... Hopefully, SamTrans and Golden Gate Transit will have it implemented full-time too to lessen the "panic attack" when running for a bus, especially when it runs late. But, a multi-screen format can be a bit daunting, especially when one needs to look up and search for the bus you want to ride; however, with each agency having its own screen, it lessens clutter and makes predicting one's bus easier and more efficient.

That system is also in place on Market Street stations in the city; I would truly love to see those, though, in action at smaller terminals in and out of San Francisco to allow a more predictable trip for commuters who might want to take a break before continuing on with their trip.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 06:40 AM   #5231
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Well, it's the same as any IC card system in Japan... Just purchase from the designated TVMs that say "IC Card / Charge". Of course, just make sure you are at the JR West half of the station.



As for getting onto Nankai trains with the card, I always tell people that the farecard only gets you past the faregates in Japan... That's fine for regular train services where you are not guaranteed a seat and only paying a base fare for the distance you want to travel (like a standard subway or urban train). But if you are riding a limited express with reserved seating (these are usually the named services like Narita Express, Keisei Skyliner, Haruka, rapi:t, Odakyū's Romancecar trains, etc.), you will need to purchase an additional ticket (a 特急券, or limited express ticket) to "buy" your seat reservation on the train. So when you ride these types of trains, you actually need two tickets. The farecard will only cover the distance portion of the fare—ICOCA is fine for Nankai, as ICOCA and PiTaPa are interoperable, and you can use it to take a regular Nankai train to wherever. To ride rapi:t with ICOCA (or PiTaPa, for that matter), you'd need to purchase the limited express ticket from the TVMs. I don't remember how the setup is at Nankai's TVMs at KIX, but it's either one of two situations: you purchase from specially designated TVMs that say "limited express ticket", or you just select on the TVM touch screen that you only want a "limited express ticket". Alternatively, you can just buy it at the staffed counter right next to the TVMs (see Nankai Tourist Support Center)... I think if you tell them you want to ride rapi:t to xx station and just show them you already have an ICOCA card, they will understand:
http://www.howto-osaka.com.e.iv.hp.t...ailway/ticket/

If I confused you more than you were before, try seeing here:
http://www.japan-guide.com/forum/que...y.html?0+97188

Or "train categories" here:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2016.html

Once you have the limited express ticket, you board by tapping the card to the faregate reader and inserting the limited express ticket into the faregate.
But if you have inserted your ticket into the machine, how will they know that you have paid the supplement if they check tickets onboard the train?

I think I am just happy with a local Nankai service to Nanba. Is there any non rapid services?
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Old April 1st, 2013, 10:05 AM   #5232
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don't worry so much.

There are machines on the platform that you can purchase the express fare from, or you can just pay the conductor on board as they come around and check for tickets. They have portable scanners that will even deduct the fare from your ICOCA card.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 11:01 AM   #5233
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I think I am just happy with a local Nankai service to Nanba. Is there any non rapid services?
The standard hourly pattern for Nankai rail services from the airport to Nanba Sta. is two ltd. expresses/two airport expresses/two locals per hour. The ltd. express takes about 40 min, the airport express 50 min, and the local 90 min. I take the airport express (no extra fare) as it has the best cost performance.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 08:33 PM   #5234
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
So a US firm wants to gut railways in another country like they were gutted in the US? Nice idea... Hopefully the takeover will be blocked. The Japanese market doesn't need a player like that on the field.
Thing is: Cerberus apparently holds something like almost 20% share in the Seibu group.

Nothing we can do on that aspect.

I think what can be done (if ever negotiations fail) is to allow public sector to take over this 6 station, 19.0 kilometer rail line in order to save it from total demise.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 09:33 PM   #5235
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Well, there seems to be a little more to the story than the articles I posted before... The focus was initially on the Chichibu Line, but more details have surfaced regarding exactly what Cerberus “recommended”:
http://zasshi.news.yahoo.co.jp/artic...ournal-bus_all

Quote:
後藤高志社長は会見で、サーベラスが2012年10月、経営改革の取り組みを文書で提案していたことを明らかにした。西武鉄道の西武秩父線、多摩川線、国分寺線など5路線の廃止や、埼玉西武ライオンズ球団の売却などが含まれていた。西武HDはいずれの提案も拒否した。
According to this, they proposed abandoning five Seibu lines—specifically, the article mentions the Chichibu Line, Tamagawa Line, and Kokubunji Line, but I suspect the other two are probably the Tamako Line and either the Yamaguchi Line or Seibu-en Line. I guess this explains why those four other cities were also getting worried.

They also mentioned selling ownership of the Seibu Lions (!). This was a bit of a surprise, but in reality, most of the private railways already sold off their professional baseball teams. Four of the five major private railways in Kansai had teams, but Hankyū, Kintetsu, and Nankai all sold their franchises. The only one remaining is Hanshin (Tigers).

Cerberus actually owns over 30% of Seibu Holdings, so they only need to buy out some individual shareholders to secure veto rights in shareholder agreements. While they’re still saying abandonment of lines and selling the Lions are only potential “options” in preparation for a relisting on the TSE, bringing up the issue was probably not good for their public image… They’ve probably turned off a lot of the Japanese shareholders.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 10:31 PM   #5236
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Looking at a map Seibu seems to have a mess of redundant infrastructure roughly between Tokorozawa and Kokubunji that could certainly stand some rationalization.

The Tamagawa line is disconnected from the rest of the Seibu network so I can see why it might be on the list, but it seems like it would be a good Light Rail conversion candidate.

The Chichibu line is more surprising in that it is more like an extension of the Ikebukuro line and seems like it would be useful, but I don't have any idea how many people ride it each day.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 10:54 PM   #5237
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Looking at a map Seibu seems to have a mess of redundant infrastructure roughly between Tokorozawa and Kokubunji that could certainly stand some rationalization.
Not sure about that. Those lines seem to be quite useful to me by linking up a lot of different communities by rail. What makes you feel they could undergo rationalisation?

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Originally Posted by orulz View Post
The Tamagawa line is disconnected from the rest of the Seibu network so I can see why it might be on the list, but it seems like it would be a good Light Rail conversion candidate.
Maybe, but again, like the other lines they serve to provide a link between the very radial lines from Tokyo (Keio line is a short distance from Shiraitodai) or Kawasaki (short walk from the terminus to the Nambu line) as well as linking these to the Chuo line. It might be disconnected from the other lines, but I'm sure it does fill a vital function. Perhaps conversion to a light rail line might be an option, but I'll let someone from Japan answer that one rather than me, an armchair speculator at best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by orulz View Post
The Chichibu line is more surprising in that it is more like an extension of the Ikebukuro line and seems like it would be useful, but I don't have any idea how many people ride it each day.
Seibu Chichibu station had 6691 passengers per day in 2011. I'd imagine that it is fairly well utilised, but obviously not profit making, which is unfortunate. From what Quashlo showed earlier in the thread, the route looks very scenic indeed.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 11:43 PM   #5238
orulz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
Not sure about that. Those lines seem to be quite useful to me by linking up a lot of different communities by rail. What makes you feel they could undergo rationalisation?
I am of course nothing more than an online armchair speculator as well, but:
(1) The Kokubunji line and Tamako line are short "circumferential" lines parallel to each other not much more than 1km apart in an area that's not all that dense by Tokyo-area standards. I can surely see the argument for keeping one of the Seibu lines that terminates at Kokubunji, but probably the other can be shut down without affecting too many people.
(2) The Seibu-en line, the Tamako line, the Sayama line, and the Yamaguchi line all serve the Tamako area which seems like basically a large amusement/entertainment center. Does it really justify four separate rail lines??Particularly the Tamako line and the Seibu-en line seem redundant.

Last edited by orulz; April 2nd, 2013 at 12:11 AM.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 01:22 AM   #5239
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Physically, yes, the Chichibu Line is an extension of the Ikebukuro Line, but in terms of operating practice, less than a third of trains (about 1 tph out of the 2-3 tph on the line) actually go through, and these are virtually all limited express Chichibu trains (If I remember correctly, there are one or two local trains that go through on the weekends). The others are all-stop services that terminate at Hannō. For the most part, Hannō is the effective “terminus” of the Ikebukuro Line, although some of this is due to the unusual “switchback” layout of the station and the fact that further north is mountains. I guess part of the problem with the Chichibu Line is there’s not a lot of ridership in the intermediate stations, since there’s no development. The only stations with any ridership over 1,000 daily entries and exits are Chichibu and Yokoze (both located in a reasonably well-developed village in a large river valley), and Koma (nearby suburban planned developments).

For reference, daily station entries and exits.
Actual ridership on each line segment in terms of number of daily passengers will be less than half of what you get summing the numbers up due to travel exclusively within each segment.

Ikebukuro Line north of Hannō
Higashi-Hannō: 5,213
Koma: 3,221
Musashi Yokote: 463
Higashi-Agano: 664
Agano: 793

Chichibu Line
Nishi-Agano: 398
Shōmaru: 292
Ashigakubo: 341
Yokoze: 1,714
Seibu Chichibu: 6,691

Compared to daily entries and exits at all stations on each of Seibu’s minor lines:

Toshima Line (1.0 km): 13,375 (connection to Toshima-en amusement park)
Sayama Line (4.2 km): 17,261 (feeder line and connection to Seibu Dome, home stadium of the Lions)
Yamaguchi Line (2.8 km): 2,596 (dinky people mover system for Seibu Dome and Seibu-en, an amusement park)
Seibu-en Line (2.4 km): 4,357 (connection to Seibu-en)
Haijima Line (14.3 km): 141,545 (feeder line)
Kokubunji Line (7.8 km): 139,467 (feeder line)
Tamako Line (9.2 km): 81,931 (feeder line)
Tamagawa Line (8.0 km): 58,386 (feeder line)

Some have quite low ridership, but they are still much shorter than the Chichibu Line (19.0 km). Chichibu isn’t a tourist hot spot, either, but perhaps with better marketing, they could pull some decent weekend visitor numbers up there. I think a lot of Tōkyō-area railfans go up there to see the old commuter EMU stock and steam trains.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 02:20 AM   #5240
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New Hiroshima Airport express bus service debuts
http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/News/Tn201304010035.html

Quote:
 広島市中心部と広島空港(三原市)を結ぶリムジンバスの定期路線「平和大通り線」の運行が31日、始まった。同空港で記念式典があり、関係者約20人が祝った。

 平和大通り線は、空港と広島市中区の広島バスセンターを結ぶ1日55便のうち、4往復の8便を同区の平和大通り経由で平塚町まで延長した。所要時間は約1時間10分で、料金は片道1500円(子ども750円)。

 式典で、平和大通り周辺のホテル10社でつくる広島平和大通り活性化ホテル協議会会長でオリエンタルホテル広島の荒木潤一総支配人が「観光客の利便性を高め、中心部の活性化につなげたい」とあいさつ。第1便の乗客に、掛け軸や箸をプレゼントした。

 同協議会は、空港へのアクセス改善に向け運行事業者に要望。広島電鉄(広島市中区)など5社が共同運行を始めた。

運行が始まった「平和大通り線」のバスに乗る乗客
This is the new highway coach service linking Heiwa Ōdōri with the airport, accomplished by extending 8 trips (four roundtrips) of the 55 total trips between the airport and the Hiroshima Bus Center further south to Heiwa Ōdōri.
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