June 29, 2022

East Japan Railway Co. has announced the launch of its onboard office cars on selected shinkansen bullet trains with the growing demand for a new work style due to the coronavirus pandemic. The specific train line will connect Tokyo, northern and central parts of the country.

According to the railway company, passengers on the No. 8 cars on the Tohoku, Joetsu, and Hokuriku lines for no additional charge and only on weekdays can now talk on the phone and participate in online meetings, activities from their seats that are otherwise discouraged on the rest of the train.

Other facilities of the special “office cars”

• Passengers will also be able to borrow “smart glasses” that can project the content of their laptop screens before their eyes.
• On the Tohoku line bullet trains passengers will also be able to use free of charge small dividers to put around their seat tables.
• While a similar measure is also being considered by the company for the Hokuriku and Joetsu lines.
• The same remote work spaces are also available on a different railway operator’s shinkansen line in Hokkaido, connecting directly to the Tohoku line.
• The work spaces in order to avoid congestion will not run during weekends, public holidays and in the New Year holiday period, among others.
• The exterior appearance of the office cars and seats for the time being will not change.

An official of the railway operator from JR East commented that they want to support a new way of working that is not bound by time and place. The bullet train after successful trial runs finally began the service in solemn.

The company with such efforts hopes that people will go on workation trips, in which they combine working online with travel. While also hoping to stimulate demand for business trips, which has decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to reports, Central Japan Railway Co. and West Japan Railway Co. since October have also been testing the introduction of onboard work spaces on the Nozomi superexpress trains on Sanyo Shinkansen and Tokaido Shinkansen lines.