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Being a train user in the UK means that you come to accept certain things - delays, cancellations, over-crowding, really noisy drunken hen parties, all par for the course. However, our friends over in Japan are used to a better, more efficient standard of service. So much so that one train company was forced to issue an apology after a train left 25 seconds early.
Someone better have been fired for such a mistake, that's all I'm saying.
The error occurred on 11 May at 7:11:35 when the 12-car train left Notogawa Station headed for Nishi-Akashi, rather than 7:12:00, when it was supposed to leave, Sora News reports.
The company running the service, JR West, released a statement apologising for the inconvenience as it was reported that a number of customer were reported to have been left behind. Those folks are living on the edge, aren't they? Getting to the station less than half a minute before the train is due to leave.
Laying it on thick in a statement, JR West said: "The great inconvenience we placed upon our customers was truly inexcusable."
The statement went on: "We will be thoroughly evaluating our conduct and striving to keep such an incident from occurring again." Yeah, I should bloody well hope so.
While this might not seem like such an issue to readers in the UK, where frankly we're lucky if the train turns up at all, in Japan services are so efficient that commuters will set their watches by them.
According to Sora News, the early train would mean that commuters left behind would have had to wait six minutes for the next train - in a country where punctuality is taken pretty seriously this would be enough to land you in trouble with your boss.
The country is famed for having one of the world's most reliable railways, despite also having some of the world's busiest lines. The Tokaido line, for example, carries almost 150 million passengers a year.
There was a similar story last year, when a Tsukuba Express line between Tokyo and Tsukuba left 20 seconds early. Just not good enough, guys.
Management said in a statement: "The crew did not sufficiently check the departure time and performed the departure operation." Fortunately, no one complained about this particular crime against good time-keeping.
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