Sat, Mar 07, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Japanese magazine lauds HSR’s customer service

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s high-speed rail (HSR) system was featured in a Japanese magazine, which said that the system is almost identical to Japan’s Shinkansen operation, offering good quality service to passengers.

The article in business magazine Weekly Toyo Keizai comes at a time when Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC), the company operating the system, is facing imminent bankruptcy.

However, the report praised the operator for its focus on safety and customer service.

High-speed railway station staff use the “point and call” method to indicate train arrivals and departures, pointing at items to be checked and calling out their status, the report said.

The method, which is used to help eliminate mistakes and to ensure safety, is similar to what is used in Japan, it said.

However, the Taiwanese system does not broadcast departures on platforms, which is different from Japan, it said, adding that announcements for departures are made in station lobbies.

THSRC does not want passengers on platforms to become nervous upon hearing an announcement saying their train will leave, which could prompt them to rush to the doors, the report said.

If staff see people running toward the platforms, the train can be radioed to wait for a short time, it said.

The report said the DNA of the Shinkansen system can be readily seen in the Taiwanese operation, despite the slight differences.

The report also described THSRC staff lounges, which serve cakes and fruit free of charge and are equipped with gyms.

The magazine also touched on the company’s financial problems, with the report urging that the financial issues should be dealt with separately from the system’s daily operations.

It quoted THSRC chief operating officer John Chen (陳強) as saying the system would not just disappear.

Chen added that the company plans to start selling boxed meals at lower prices to passengers, who will be able to purchase the meals on platforms.

The company sells boxed meals for NT$120, slightly higher than those sold by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA).

The report said that each train has female cleaning staff who push a trash cart through trains to collect garbage during journeys so that there is less to clean at terminal stations.

Women make up 34 percent of THSRC’s workforce, compared with 10 percent at East Japan Railway Co (JR-East), it said.

Seventy-five percent of THSRC’s conductors are women, versus 22 percent for JR-East, it said.

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