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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:43 AM   #701
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Daycare facilities on the Saikyō Line
http://mytown.asahi.com/saitama/news...00380912190001

Quote:
For working mothers raising children, finding a nursery school is an urgent problem. As a result, JR East has been opening nursery schools and daycare facilities since 1996 in an attempt to help build community and increase the value of living along its rail lines.

Ohisama Nursery School, located near Toda Station on the Saikyō Line, was opened by JR East as the Saikyō Line’s first “station nursery school” in April 2004 and is operated by foundation Tetsudō Kōsaikai. The school has a capacity for 60 children and accepts children aged zero to kindergarten age from 7:00 am in the mornings until 8:00 pm on weekends (7:00 pm on Saturdays).

Shibasaki Kaori (38yo), who commutes to work at a publishing company in Tōkyō, came to pick up her oldest son (3yo) at 6:00 pm. “I commute by train, so it’s very convenient to have the nursery school nearby the station.”

The school also boasts an annual event fit for a facility developed by a railway company: fieldtrips to the station. The school teaches children how to buy tickets and board trains and strengthens social interactions with JR employees. As a result, the school has many children who have an interest in trains. “When trains pass by on the elevated tracks near the school, a lot of the children wave their hands. There are people who even wave back from inside the trains,” laughed Principal Mizuno Akira (58yo).

Daycare facilities developed by JR East now number 27 locations. In Saitama Prefecture, nine schools are located along the Saikyō Line, and station nursery schools are located near Kamonomiya Station and Konba Station on the Saitama New Urban Transit. There is also the Higashi-Washinomiya Daycare Station Familia directly outside Higashi-Washinomiya Station on the Tōhoku Line.

After taking charge of children from their guardians in the morning, Familia drops them off at their specified nursery schools by bus. In the evening, Familia then picks up the children from the schools and brings them to its own extended daycare facility until their guardians return to pick them up.

“We’ve designated the Saikyō Line as a ‘childcare support line,’” says Itō Yasunobu (40yo), vice-chief of the Business Development Section at JR East’s Ōmiya Branch Office. In April of next year, the railway is expecting to open a new station nursery school near Musashi Urawa Station. “The need for station nursery schools is still high, and with a growing number of children that exceeds the capacity of schools, we have a plan to continue to expand our support facilities in coordination with local jurisdictions.”

According to a study by the Saitama Prefectural Government, the number of children without a nursery school to attend has reached 1,509 as of April of this year. The expectations for daycare facilities such as station nursery schools seems likely to increase.
JR East Group CM


Source: sagami2 on YouTube

JR East recently also opened Refresta inside Yokohama Station several months ago. The facility is designed to cater to women’s needs, with café, makeup lounge, and a free rest area for mothers with babies.
Source: http://woman.excite.co.jp/life/topics/rid_6008/







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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:43 AM   #702
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Kitamoto City’s on-demand buses popular
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/sa...602000110.html

Quote:
Kitamoto City’s trial operation of “on-demand” buses covering the entire city is proving popular primarily among the elderly population, seeing increasing ridership. The trial service started in October and continues until the end of December and is targeted at city residents. The program makes use of the Convenicle (Convenient & Smart Vehicle) system developed by the University of Tōkyō’s Yamato Laboratory (Kashiwa City, Chiba Prefecture), and improves convenience and ease of use while resolving cost-related issues. The city believes the program will become a flexible transport mode tailored to the needs of an aging society, and after final trials next fiscal year, is hoping to begin regular service in FY2011.

Unlike fixed-route buses, on-demand buses have no stops or specified route, changing their route based on passenger’s requests. In Kitamoto City’s trial operations, two 12-person vans run from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, arriving to pick up passengers at their homes or other locations at the requested time and taking them anywhere in the city for ¥300.

In order to use the system, passengers must register their home address and name with the city, after which they need only tell an operator via phone their boarding location, destination, and preferred arrival time. Users can make reservations up to one hour before they need it. The computer then takes other requests during the same time period and automatically crafts an itinerary, displaying the operating plan on special units provided to the drivers.

As of December 7, a total of 1,746 residents are registered with the program. Average daily users numbered 26.9 in October, 36.9 in November, and 41.4 for December 1-7. While the program hasn’t reached the break-even threshold of 100, ridership is steadily increasing.

According to a report prepared by the city at the end of October, 60 percent of the program users are 65 years of age or older. The top destination was medical facilities, followed by JR Kitamoto Station, public facilities such as libraries, and commercial facilities such as supermarkets. Elderly users have commented that they are now able to leave the house on their own whenever they want, and the program is also used by children as a safe means of travel to lessons or events.

In the past, on-demand buses suffered from several expensive system costs, including the need to purchase a special server costing ¥15 million and staff a special operator to devise itineraries. The Convenient & Smart Vehicle system, however, does not require purchasing a server, and the itinerary is determined by computer. Startup costs are ¥500,000, with the monthly costs from server fees and other expenditures only reaching ¥100,000.

“On-demand buses are great for the mobility-impaired, and from an environmental perspective, are an effective means of getting citizens to rein in their use of personal automobiles. While being careful not to impact existing fixed-route buses and taxis, we’re eager to introduce the system,” say representatives from Kitamoto City.
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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:44 AM   #703
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Seibu launches new website

Site: http://www.seibu-group.co.jp/railways/

Looks much better than what they had before.

They also released some new posters:

2009.09 | 2009.10



2009.11 | 2009.12

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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:46 AM   #704
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Seibu to begin reconstruction of Tokorozawa Station
http://www.seibu-group.co.jp/railway...7/20091217.pdf

Quote:
Seibu Railway (HQ: Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture; President: Gotō Takashi) has finalized plans to begin reconstruction of Tokorozawa Station (1-14-5, Kusunokidai, Tokorozawa City).

Tokorozawa Station is a terminal station for both the Ikebukuro Line and Shinjuku Line, and is one of the most important stations in our railway network, serving approximately 210,000 users daily when including passengers who transfer between lines. With the proposed reconstruction, we plan to transform Tokorozawa into a comfortable and attractive station.

As part of the plan, a new station structure will be constructed in the central area of the station. Escalators will be increased and barrier-free improvements made to ensure a more pleasurable experience for our customers when using the station. The station will be redesigned as a bright and environmentally-friendly station, featuring walls covered in vegetation and natural sunlight through the use of canopy roofs.

The retail space inside the station is designed around the concept of “Smile Station”—station retail that is full of smiles. The space will provide basic retail to support daily lifestyle needs and quick gourmet restaurants that are convenient and consistently refreshing, in addition to food product sellers that appeal to customers and give added value. In addition, in an attempt to support working women, we will consider inclusion of daycare facilities inside the station.

We will now proceed in discussing the project with the relevant agencies and begin construction staging early, with the aim of opening the new station in 2012 in time for the 100th anniversary of Seibu Railway and the expected start of mutual through-service operations between the Ikebukuro Line and the Tōkyū Lines via the Tōkyō Metro Fukutoshin Line.

In order to realize these improvements to the station, we will work intimately with government agencies—starting with Tokorozawa City—to construct a new Tokorozawa Station that is fit as the new face for the city. Outside of just the station, we will also begin investigating other efforts that harmonize with the urban planning for the area surrounding the station.
Renderings:
Source: Seibu Railway



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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:47 AM   #705
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Seibu Ikebukuro Line grade-separation (elevation) and quadruple-tracking

This project involves the grade-separation of 2.4 km of the Ikebukuro Line from Nerima Takanodai to Ōizumi Gakuen, and the quadruple-tracking of 1.2 km of the line from Nerima Takanodai to Shakujii Kōen.

Seibu’s official website for the project is here:
http://www.seibu-group.co.jp/railway...oen/index.html

Construction photos

First, some photos of the construction near Shakujii Kōen from early October.

The project is divided into Phase I and Phase II. They are currently working on Phase I, which involves elevation from Nerima Takanodai to just past Shakujii Kōen. Here, we approach the touchdown location for the temporary approach to the new elevated structure. We are currently traveling on temporary tracks.


Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

The temporary approach is built atop earth since it will eventually be removed in Phase II, which involves elevation of the rest of the track all the way to Ōizumi Gakuen. After removal of the temporary approach, the right-of-way will be converted to a frontage road for vehicles.


Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

The east connection of the new elevated tracks and the existing track, near Nerima Takanodai.


Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

North side of Shakujii Kōen Station.


Source: http://dennsya-nikki.cocolog-nifty.com/


Source: http://dennsya-nikki.cocolog-nifty.com/


Source: http://dennsya-nikki.cocolog-nifty.com/


Source: http://dennsya-nikki.cocolog-nifty.com/
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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:48 AM   #706
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Ekoda Station reconstruction and redevelopment

Ekoda Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line is being reconstructed with a north-south public passage and barrier-free access. In addition, redevelopment is going on in the area surrounding the station. The station is actually being downsized from two island platforms / four tracks to two side platforms / two tracks, making room for a station plaza and roadway improvements. Daily entries and exits are 36,000 (2008), but only local trains stop at the station.

Construction photos (2009.12)
Source: http://thankyou2200.blog.so-net.ne.jp/

A very “neighborhoody” station.



Temporary South Exit. This will be connected to the existing platform bridge before they work on the existing South Exit.





Looking down to where the temporary stairwell will touch down.



Inside the platform bridge. The temporary connection will break through on the left.



“Remove”



Nighttime work





Basic plan of the work:



These decorative pieces use sections of old rail.





Waiting room on the outbound platform (away from Ikebukuro).







From the outbound platform, looking at the inbound platform. The concourse level of the new station building now spans above the tracks.



Existing North Exit.



New station peeking through.





Working on the temporary South Exit.

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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:49 AM   #707
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Expansion and redevelopment of Hōya Station

Work on another station on the Ikebukuro Line. In addition to ongoing redevelopment of the area around the station, an additional platform is being added to the station. In final configuration, it will be one island platform, one side platform, and three tracks, increasing flexibility when the Tōkyū through-service with the Fukutoshin Line starts in 2012.

Construction photos (2009.11.2)
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/2009/11/2009112.html

West end, closer to Hibarigaoka. They have removed the crossover here.



To the left is the storage yard at Hōya. This is where the third track will be connected.



New platform and track for inbound (towards Ikebukuro) trains. The part missing in the middle is the gate to the construction site.







Looking east, towards Ikebukuro.

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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:50 AM   #708
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Seibu art pieces use sections of old rail

Seibu seems to be doing a lot of this, and they look quite nice. Some examples:
Source: http://thankyou2200.blog.so-net.ne.jp/

At Nakamurabashi Station:





At Higashi-Nagasaki Station:





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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:50 AM   #709
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Tōyoko Line undergrounding and Fukutoshin Line through-service
Source:http://jk1cwr.blog119.fc2.com/

I introduced this project here.

Construction photos (2009.12.02)

Gathering at the Main Exit of the Fukutoshin Line’s Shibuya Station.



Main entrance to construction site.





Descending 50 m down…





The TBM bores both tunnels at once in a ∞ shape. There are 457 concrete sections in the 1.5 km tunnel, each composed of ten different segments.





TBM











Segment for the center of the tunnel.







Exiting the tunnel…



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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:51 AM   #710
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Tama Plaza Station renovation and redevelopment

Tōkyū Corporation is renovating and redeveloping this station, creating a new retail facility and completely redoing the station building and surrounding area. The station first opened in 1966 with the Den’en Toshi Line and currently sees 69,000 daily entries and exits (2008).

Photos

First, some photos from early September, when the new South Exit Bus Terminal opened.


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/

Small waiting room for the bus to Haneda Airport.


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/

The temporary South Exit Bus Terminal, used since May 2007.


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/

Part of the attached retail facility, Tama Plaza Terrace, not yet open at the time.


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/

Now, some photos from October and November, after the East Exit, new North Exit Bus Terminal, and a second portion of the retail facility opened.

The East Exit (East Gate).


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/

There are cuts in the floorplate of the concourse level that allow you to see down through to the platform / track level.


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/

New signage in typical Tōkyū style.


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/

North Exit Bus Terminal.


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/

Looking inside the bus terminal, from the taxi zone.


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/

Waiting room for buses to Narita Airport.


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/

General pics of the interior:

image hosted on flickr

Source: kawanet on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: kawanet on Flickr


Source: http://0917-0228.at.webry.info/
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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:53 AM   #711
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Kawasaki City considers battery-powered trains for proposed subway
http://www.business-i.jp/news/ind-pa...911200095a.nwc

Quote:
Kawasaki City, which is planning construction of a subway line, has decided to pursue research into the practical use of new lithium ion battery trains. The city will establish a project team composed of railway and electric automobile experts, with the aim of beginning construction in FY2015.

“I hope we can develop a more environmentally-friendly subway technology that can be applied worldwide,” confided Mayor Abe Takao, but the issues to resolve are many, including the expense of developing new rolling stock and the efficiency and cost of high-capacity batteries. Realizing the dream may require overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Eliica could be the answer
The subway plan would stretch 17 km, connecting Shin-Yurigaoka Station on the Odakyū Line in the city’s northern districts and Musashi Kosugi Station on the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line and JR Nambu Line in the city’s central districts, with an additional proposed extension to Kawasaki Station on the southern part of the city.

Mayor Abe envisions the centerpiece of the plan as the application of the technology used in Eliica, a high-efficiency electric automobile developed by a collaboration of Keiō University and private firms. Eliica, with its lithium ion battery, recorded a top speed of 370 kph. Inside each of its eight wheels is a motor, helping to reduce energy loss. By using wheels with embedded motors, the mayor and city hope to create a new train with very high energy efficiency.

The reality, however, is that lithium ion battery trains are still in the process of being developed. Representatives from JR East, which is carrying out experiments to test trains using lithium ion batteries as a power source, say that improving battery efficiencies to allow for increased travel distance and speed is one of the most critical issues. The Railway Technical Research Institute, which is performing tests on similar battery-powered trams, says that a way to overcome the expensive costs of the batteries is necessary for practical use of the technology.

A new factory next spring
University of Fukui Professor Ogihara Takashi (Materials Science and Engineering), who conducted running experiments of lithium ion batteries using trains from Echizen Railway (Fukui City), was successful in running a train at a top speed of 70 kph for a continuous 40 km. “With long trains and short station distances, however, it’s difficult to recharge the unit and the battery life is reduced,” points out Ogihara.

Development of trams using not only lithium ion but also nickel metal hydride batteries is proceeding. Starting in December 2007, Kawasaki Heavy Industries tested the technology inside a Sapporo City tram for four months. “While there were no problems in operation, our clients didn’t see the benefits of the technology, such as reduced maintenance through the elimination of overhead wires. As a result, we were unsuccessful in securing orders for the technology,” say Kawasaki representatives.

In response to these issues, Mayor Abe emphasized, “If electric vehicles expand their presence, the problem of battery costs will resolve itself. With no need for overhead wires, the tunnels can be smaller, reducing the construction costs.” City officials say they plan on asking assistance from ELIIY Power (HQ: Tōkyō), the battery maker established after the development of the Eliica. Next spring, the company plans on constructing a factory for the production of large lithium ion batteries in Kawasaki City.
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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:54 AM   #712
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Keisei announces details of New Skyliner service
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...1150011-n1.htm

Quote:
On December 16, Keisei Electric Railway announced that it plans to open the Narita New Rapid Railway, which will connect Airport Terminal 2 Station at Narita Airport and Nippori Station in Tōkyō in as little as 36 minutes, in July 2010. Keisei has also announced that the name for the new route will be “Narita Sky Access.”

The Narita New Rapid Railway line connects to Narita Airport via the Hokusō Railway’s Hokusō Line. Construction of the new tracks between Inba Nihon Idai Station and Airport Terminal 2 are fast nearing completion. After opening, the line will run a maximum of three limited express trains an hour, starting with the 160 kph New Skyliner, the fastest non-Shinkansen line in Japan. Travel time will be shortened by 15 minutes compared to the existing route via the Keisei Main Line, substantially improving access to central Tōkyō. The regular fare will be ¥1,200, and ¥2,400 for the Skyliner.

During the public naming competition, the railway received 3,699 responses. The name “Narita Sky Access” was selected because it identifies the direct service to the airport and is easy to understand for passengers.
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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:54 AM   #713
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Narita New Rapid Railway construction

Construction photos (2009.11 and 2009.12)

First, some shots of the bridge over Inba Canal:
Source: http://naritakousoku.blog122.fc2.com/











Near Matsumushi in Inba Village:
Source: http://naritakousoku.blog122.fc2.com/









Outside and around Narita Yukawa Station. This is the only new station on the line.
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/naritasenwall/

The approach to the station.









Construction inside the station:
Source: http://naritakousoku.blog122.fc2.com/





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Old December 21st, 2009, 01:50 PM   #714
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I love this thread.

Seriously, I love it. Japan rocks.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:18 PM   #715
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JR Sakurai Line receives nickname
http://www.asahi.com/kansai/travel/n...912240033.html

Quote:
On December 24, JR West announced that it has selected “Man’yō Mahoroba Line” as the official nickname of the Sakurai Line. The year 2010 marks the 1300th Anniversary of Nara Heijō-kyō Capital, and JR West has been accepting submissions from the public for nicknames in an effort to strengthen affection for the line among passengers.

The railway received 4,730 submissions, with 57 people suggesting “Man’yō Mahoroba Line.” The four-member screening committee, which included Nakanishi Susumu, Curator of the Nara Prefecture Complex of Man’yō Culture, selected the final name.

All along the Sakurai Line are the sites of famous landmarks featured in the poems of the Man'yōshū. Adjacent to Makimuku Station (Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture) are the Makimuku Ruins, where the ruins of a former large-scale building which could have been the palace of the former Yamataikoku were discovered. Mahoroba is an ancient Japanese word meaning “paradise” or “utopia,” and in the past was often used in reference to Nara, for which the committee selected the new nickname. The nickname will enter effect on March 13, 2010.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:19 PM   #716
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Temporary halt likely for undergrounding of Hankyū Kōyō Line
http://mytown.asahi.com/hyogo/news.p...00000912240002

Quote:
On December 22, the Public Works Evaluation Committee composed of experts examining the necessity of public works projects in Hyōgo Prefecture finalized a recommendation to put a stop to the proposed undergrounding of the Hankyū Kōyō Line and the associated prefectural road widening construction and submitted the recommendation to Governor Ido Toshizō. The Prefectural Government plans to accept the recommendations, returning the plan to underground the Kōyō Line back to square one.

In 2000, the Prefectural Government, Nishinomiya City, and Hankyū Railway have been proceeding with work on the Kōyō Line undergrounding project, which would have undergrounded approx. 1 km of the line between Kurakuenguchi and Kōyōen, with a total project cost of approx. ¥10.6 billion. The project’s main goals were to eliminate grade crossings with the Ōzō – Nishinomiya Prefectural Road and the Yamate City Road, preventing traffic congestion.

Undergrounding the tracks requires widening the prefectural road for approx. 700 m of its length and the city road for approx. 800 m of its length, for which work on approx. 200 m of the prefectural road has already been completed. However, locals have begun protesting against the project, partially because completion of the remaining roadway widening construction would require the removal of approx. 20 cherry trees inside Shukugawa Park, a famous spot for cherry-blossom viewing.

The Evaluation Committee admitted the need for the project was high, but noted, “Gaining the approval of locals is critical to the continuation of the project, so a temporary halt to the work is inevitable.” Nishinomiya City’s Roadway Project Advancement Group agreed, “We’ll be discussing the issue further with the Prefectural Government and Hankyū, but it’s difficult for the city to move forward with the project on its own.”

The Evaluation Committee is composed of eleven members, including university professors and attorneys. For projects with a total project cost of ¥1 billion or more, the committee evaluates the need, or lack thereof, for the project. In the latest round, sixteen projects were selected for evaluation, with the committee recommending continuation for the 15 other projects.
The Kōyō Line is a neighborhood branch line of the Hankyū Kōbe Main Line, and is single-track, with only three stations (Shukugawa, Kurakuenguchi, and Kōyōen).

Window view on an outbound trip, facing west. Starting at 3:40, you can see some of what looks to be construction work for the road widening.

Source: seigen120kaihin on YouTube

The inbound trip, facing east. Around 2:20, the train enters Shukugawa Park and crosses the Shukugawa (Shuku River). You can see some of the cherry trees for which the park is famous.

Source: seigen120kaihin on YouTube
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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:20 PM   #717
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Outside auditor critical of Kyōto Municipal Subway’s revitalization plan
http://mytown.asahi.com/kyoto/news.p...00000912240001

Quote:
In regards to the mounting accumulated debt and financial difficulties facing Kyōto’s municipal subway and bus operations, the outside auditor selected by the city (Kōda Shūji, CPA) released his report on December 22, submitting a copy to Mayor Kadokawa Daisaku.

For subway operations in particular, the report presents a preliminary financial analysis that indicates the need to invest a total of ¥300 billion from the general fund over the course of 20 years starting in FY2014 in order to eliminate interest-bearing debt. At the same time, with the expected worsening of the municipal government’s financial situation as a result of public funds going towards the subway, the report recommends a drastic financial stabilization plan. Based on the findings in the report, the city will finalize a stabilization plan for both subway and bus operations and expects to submit the document to the City Council in February.

According to the report, the city has prepared plans to provide ¥65.5 billion in funding to subway operations between FY2004 and FY2013 to help stabilize its financial situation. However, the balance on interest-bearing debt had reached ¥526.0 billion as of the end of March this year, and even with cost reductions such as cuts in labor costs, the debt would only continue to grow. “It’s highly possible the subway operations could go bankrupt,” warns the report.

The auditor performed a financial analysis assuming additional funding from the city’s general fund is put towards reducing the debt. If the city funds an additional ¥15.0 billion every year for 20 years starting in FY2014 (a total of ¥300 billion) to subway operations, the Karasuma Line and its infrastructure will have paid off its interest-bearing debt in 2080, when the line will have reached its service life. On the other hand, if the city does not take money from the general fund and leaves the subway operations as is, the report says the total interest-bearing debt will have ballooned to ¥770 billion by 2080.

But while the auditor suggests that funneling of general fund money to stabilize the subway cannot be avoided, the report also admits that such a move will become a large burden on the city’s financial well-being. Assuming that the city provides an additional ¥15.0 billion annually from the general fund without issuing bonds, the yearly deficit will be 4.2 percent. In five years, the city’s deficit would exceed the threshold standard for the sound public finance of local governments (20 percent), leading to the possibility that the city may be declared a Public Finance Stabilization Group under the administration of the national government and be forced to reevaluate its administrative functions.

In addition, the auditor claims that the city’s current financial stabilization plan, which calls for an increase of 50,000 in daily visitors by 2018, overestimates the benefits of improved infrastructure and development along the subway. The report criticized the plan, calling the target a “feel-good goal that has no logical basis” and “nothing but pie-in-the-sky.” In response to the city’s plan to increase revenues by raising subway fares, the report points out that fares are already high compared to subways in other cities and claims an automatic fare raise has a “low likelihood of implementation.”

At a press conference, outside auditor Kōda said, “The city must develop a work schedule for its financial stabilization plan, and begin its efforts with items that can be accomplished. I am hopeful that we can create a plan that jives with reality.” In response, the Municipal Transportation Bureau said, “We will scrutinize the report and make active effort to incorporate it into the city’s new plan.”
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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:21 PM   #718
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Kyōto Municipal Subway’s pastry campaign surpasses goal
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/news/20091222-OYO1T00952.htm

Quote:
A new Japanese-style pastry being sold inside station retail space on the Kyōto Municipal Subway as part of an effort to stabilize a system operating in the red are proving popular. The pastries, sold only at Shijō and Kyōto Stations on the Karasuma Line, may have captured the hearts of passengers due to their scarcity value. Total sales as of December 21, approximately a month after debuting, reached approx. 135,800 pastries, more than twice the initial target. Officials from the Municipal Transportation Bureau say, “Hopefully, we’ll be able to transfer this energy into the improvement of our financial situation.” The pastries are yuzu-flavored steamed castella (sponge cakes). At the launch of the campaign, the Bureau had set a target of 60,000 pastries a month, but after their debut on November 20, sales have exceeded expectations thanks to growing public awareness through Internet blogs and other means.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:22 PM   #719
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JR Ōsaka Station Platform 11 opens
Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com...1220-eacc.html











This will be the escalator up to the new station building under construction.







Platform retail.







More platform retail: a convenience store (left) and lunchbox store (right).





The west end of the platform has been widened.

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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:23 PM   #720
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Kansai executives skeptical of North Yard stadium proposal
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...1906040-n1.htm

Quote:
At a December 22 regular press conference, Nakano Kenjirō, Representative Director of the Kansai Association of Corporate Executives and vice-president of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation commented on the proposal to construct a soccer stadium in the Umeda North Yard area on the north side of JR Ōsaka Station, indicating his view that the plan would be difficult to accomplish: “Just who will provide the funding to build this stadium? Ōsaka City should buy land in the North Yard area and draft a plan for it.”

Director Nakano also remarked, “Personally, I don’t believe building a main stadium in the immediate heart of the city is appropriate.”

Representative Director Yamanaka Makoto, Chairman and CEO of Nankai Electric Railway, added, “Our Association has already proposed providing green space in the North Yard area, and I have no idea how a stadium could be appropriate for this location.”
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