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Japanese railway JR Kyushu to abolish paper 'pocket timetable' to cut costs amid pandemic

A JR Kyushu "pocket timetable" is seen in Kitakyushu's Kokurakita Ward on Feb. 9, 2021. The railway has decided to abolish the paper timetables. (Mainichi/Munehisa Ishida)

FUKUOKA -- Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) will abolish the paper "pocket timetable" issued every spring in line with the timetable revision on March 13.

    Circulation of the little paper books of train schedules has been declining as online timetable searches have become commonplace. JR Kyushu is also aiming to slash expenses as the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on its balance sheet.

    The pocket timetable is about the size of a paperback book and contains about 200 pages of timetables for the shinkansen bullet train and local lines in the Kyushu area. It has been distributed free of charge at major stations since before Japanese National Railways was privatized in 1987, and some 230,000 copies were printed when the timetable was last revised in March 2020.

    People can check the timetable at ticket windows and on bulletin boards at stations. JR Kyushu also operates a telephone information service at 0570-04-1717, and launched a smartphone app in 2016 allowing users to check timetables and make ticket reservations. The app had been downloaded more than 1.3 million times as of Feb. 1.

    In the air travel industry, All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co. have also decided to abolish their paper timetables, while Star Flyer Inc. ended its own printed version starting from this winter's timetable.

    (Japanese original by Munehisa Ishida, Kyushu News Department)

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