Tokyo to Extend Train Service for Olympics

(ATR) Olympic spectators can count on limited train service until two o'clock in the morning in some areas of Tokyo.

(ATR) Spectators leaving late night Tokyo 2020 events will have public transportation options to get home.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and 19 rail companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area agreed to a plan to extend rail service by an hour to 90 minutes after the current last train times. Major rail companies such as JR East and Tokyo Metro were included in the deal with Tokyo 2020.

Subways in Tokyo tend to shut down just after midnight, despite Tokyo’s reputation as a 24-hour city. That creates the need to plan ahead when travelling home after a night out or working late.

"With the cooperation of those companies, overall agreement has been reached to run trains considerably later than usual every day from the Olympic Opening Ceremony to the Closing Ceremony – a total of 17 days," Toshiro Muto, Tokyo 2020 chief executive, said in a TMG statement providedto Around the Rings. "This will allow spectators to enjoy events until they finish even when these are held late at night. As organizer of the Games we are very grateful."

Sports such as swimming and volleyball have late starting times to accommodate television broadcasters worldwide, meaning events could end later than 11 o’clock at night. Extending the time for last trains will allow spectators to easily get where they need to go at the conclusion of the event.

Tokyo’s famed Yamanote line along with the Tokyo Metro and Toei subway lines will run as late as two o’clock in the morning, with the final last train times to be decided. All the other lines in the agreement will run last trains between one and two o’clock.

Late night transportation would extend to the Tokyo metropolitan area as well, including cities such as Kawasaki and Yokohama.

Tokyo 2020 says a number of other rail companies are still in negotiations about potential late night scheduling, including the Keikyu Corporation, Saitama Railway Corporation, and the Tokyo Monorail.

Robo-Boost to Tokyo Ceremonies

Those attending the Tokyo 2020 opening and closing ceremonies in wheelchairs will receive friendly assistance from robots to provide an "experience they are unlikely to forget".

Tokyo 2020 shared multiple kinds of robots that will be used during the opening ceremonies developed by TOP sponsors Panasonic and Toyota.

For wheelchair users there will be two kinds of robots designed to assist their experiences during the ceremonies. The first is a "human support robot" which will guide spectators to their seats, and provide useful information and comfort during the event. Second is a "delivery support robot" which will deliver food and other goods to seats.

A "power assist suit" has also been designed by Panasonic to help workers lift and transport heavy materials backstage at Olympic venues and the Olympic and Paralympic Village, Tokyo 2020 says.

The robots are part of Tokyo’s push to showcase domestic technological advances during the 2020 Olympic Games.

Tokyo 2020 has already said it will use facial recognition software from company NEC at venues for all accredited individuals during the Olympics. The robots used in the Olympics will be showcased to demonstrate to the general public that there can be more practical uses for the technology after the Games.

"This project will not simply be about exhibiting robots, but showcasing their practical real-life deployment helping people," Hirohisa Hirukawa, leader of the Tokyo 2020 Robot Project, said in a statement. "So there will be not only sports at the Tokyo 2020 Games, but some cool robots at work to look forward to as well."

Written by Aaron Bauer

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