To fulfil the growing demand for telework amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan’s East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) debuted onboard something called as an ‘office car’ on a few Shinkansen bullet trains. These trains connected Tokyo and the country’s northern and central portions. As per a reports by Xinhua, this new service will allow customers to talk on the phone and engage in online meetings from their seats for no additional cost, which are activities that are prohibited on the rest of the train.
On Monday, local media was given access to a moving Hokuriku bullet train, and a JR East employee displayed how they are able to work remotely while wearing noise-cancelling headphones. They can also use dividers around their seat tables. On weekends, and some public holidays, the workspaces will be closed to reduce congestion. JR East expects that the new service would make it easier for people to combine online work with travel, as well as boost demand for business travels, which has dwindled owing to the pandemic.
They aim to offer the office car as a new way of experiencing the Shinkansen voyage
A senior official with JR East’s business creation headquarters stated that they aim to offer the office car as a new way of experiencing the Shinkansen voyage, according to the Japanese newspaper the Asahi Shimbun. The No. 8 car on each of JR East’s bullet trains is being used as an office car, featuring 100 chairs and free internet access. Passengers can switch between their normal seats and the office car, where they can participate in online meetings and phone conversations.
The office car is available to any passenger who has purchased a train ticket. However, it will only be available on weekdays and will not be available over the holiday season, according to the Asahi Shimbun. After conducting testing in February, June, and July, JR East executives decided to offer the office car service to the public.
Central Japan Railway Co. began offering a similar service in October
On the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines, Central Japan Railway Co. began offering a similar service in October on Nozomi trains, according to the Asahi Shimbun. Other Japanese railways have also been experimenting with the addition of onboard workplaces on trains that travel through important Japanese towns.