Left ‘in the dark’ re train change

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During a trip in Japan, I rode on Haruka train No. 7 from Kyoto to Osaka Kansai Airport on the rainy morning of Oct. 13, ’03. The train stopped at Hinero Station. I saw everyone get off the train and I got off too, however my intended destination was the airport.

Haruka is a special express train going to the airport and there would be many foreign passengers also on board. However, there was not any English translation to explain to foreigners why all passengers had to step out at Hinero Station for 45 minutes. Also, there was not any backup system such as a bus service to help the passengers.

There was another train that took us to Rinku Town, where we stopped for another 30 minutes. Finally we reached the Osaka airport after a 75-minute delay. I missed my fight due to the train delay and the lack of a backup system. It cost me an extra $100 to reschedule my fight to Hong Kong.

After I returned home, I wrote a complaint to West Japan Railway Company and asked for compensation. It’s been two months, but I have not heard a word from the company yet. I am very dissatisfied at its services and attitude.

STEVEN Y. ZHONG
Daly City, CA

ITN sent a copy of the above letter to West Japan Railway Company (4-24 Shibata 2 - Chomekitaku, Osaka 530-8341 Japan) and received the following reply.

Thank you for your recent letter to our company. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to reply, and our replies to your letter are as follows.

First, we would like to apologize for being late in responding to the questions posed by Mr. Steven Y. Zhong to our company president. We did send a reply to Mr. Zhong on Feb. 14, and a general summary of the contents of that letter is given below.

The “Haruka No. 7” train that Mr. Zhong boarded on Oct. 3 (sic), 2003, had to be stopped at the Hinero Station due to strong winds. The passengers from that train were transferred to a rapid service train, which ran to Rinku Town Station. We also made arrangements for a special bus to transfer passengers on a tight schedule from Rinku Town to the Kansai Airport Station.

It was indicated that there were no English announcements made for foreigners at Hinero Station. Announcements in English were being made in the trains, but these were limited normal automated train announcements. We sincerely apologize for the fact that our English announcements made in the trains and the stations were insufficient at that time. Many foreigners use the Kansai Airport Line, and our company is fully aware of the necessity for English announcements on that line. We are studying ways to enhance our capabilities for making announcements and providing guidance in English when a problem or emergency arises.

Regarding the request for arrangements for another plane for Mr. Zhong and the payment of $100 as compensation, please understand that our company is unable to make any such compensation. In regard to compensation and reimbursement, as explained in our terms-and-conditions contract of carriage, when a limited express train is taken out of operation, as Mr. Zhong experienced, or when a limited express train is at least two hours late in arriving, our company will reimburse the fee paid for limited express train use.

We do offer our apologies for the inconvenience caused by the train delay due to the strong winds. We are sorry that we are unable to comply with Mr. Zhong’s requests and hope he will be able to understand that we must adhere to our company policy, as described above.

KOJI NAITO, Public Relations, Administration and Planning Division, Osaka Branch, West Japan Railway Company, 2 Matuzaki, Chomeabenoku, Osaka, Japan

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

During a trip in Japan, I rode on Haruka train No. 7 from Kyoto to Osaka Kansai Airport on the rainy morning of Oct. 13, ’03. The train stopped at Hinero Station. I saw everyone get off the train and I got off too, however my intended destination was the airport.

Haruka is a special express train going to the airport and there would be many foreign passengers also on board. However, there was not any English translation to explain to foreigners why all passengers had to step out at Hinero Station for 45 minutes. Also, there was not any backup system such as a bus service to help the passengers.

There was another train that took us to Rinku Town, where we stopped for another 30 minutes. Finally we reached the Osaka airport after a 75-minute delay. I missed my fight due to the train delay and the lack of a backup system. It cost me an extra $100 to reschedule my fight to Hong Kong.

After I returned home, I wrote a complaint to West Japan Railway Company and asked for compensation. It’s been two months, but I have not heard a word from the company yet. I am very dissatisfied at its services and attitude.

STEVEN Y. ZHONG
Daly City, CA

ITN sent a copy of the above letter to West Japan Railway Company (4-24 Shibata 2 - Chomekitaku, Osaka 530-8341 Japan) and received the following reply.

Thank you for your recent letter to our company. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to reply, and our replies to your letter are as follows.

First, we would like to apologize for being late in responding to the questions posed by Mr. Steven Y. Zhong to our company president. We did send a reply to Mr. Zhong on Feb. 14, and a general summary of the contents of that letter is given below.

The “Haruka No. 7” train that Mr. Zhong boarded on Oct. 3 (sic), 2003, had to be stopped at the Hinero Station due to strong winds. The passengers from that train were transferred to a rapid service train, which ran to Rinku Town Station. We also made arrangements for a special bus to transfer passengers on a tight schedule from Rinku Town to the Kansai Airport Station.

It was indicated that there were no English announcements made for foreigners at Hinero Station. Announcements in English were being made in the trains, but these were limited normal automated train announcements. We sincerely apologize for the fact that our English announcements made in the trains and the stations were insufficient at that time. Many foreigners use the Kansai Airport Line, and our company is fully aware of the necessity for English announcements on that line. We are studying ways to enhance our capabilities for making announcements and providing guidance in English when a problem or emergency arises.

Regarding the request for arrangements for another plane for Mr. Zhong and the payment of $100 as compensation, please understand that our company is unable to make any such compensation. In regard to compensation and reimbursement, as explained in our terms-and-conditions contract of carriage, when a limited express train is taken out of operation, as Mr. Zhong experienced, or when a limited express train is at least two hours late in arriving, our company will reimburse the fee paid for limited express train use.

We do offer our apologies for the inconvenience caused by the train delay due to the strong winds. We are sorry that we are unable to comply with Mr. Zhong’s requests and hope he will be able to understand that we must adhere to our company policy, as described above.

KOJI NAITO, Public Relations, Administration and Planning Division, Osaka Branch, West Japan Railway Company, 2 Matuzaki, Chomeabenoku, Osaka, Japan