Why do trains take off seats at some Japanese stations?

We can use unusual design in Kansai as an example of reasonable customer service, designed specifically with the user's mind.

A design of commonity in Kansai is an attractive example of intelligent customer service, designed specifically by the user.

In the Kansai region, Osaka and Tokyo in the Kanto region are proud of doing everything differently than each other, whether it is price cakes or miso soups or things are miso soup positioned at the table.

The difference is not at food. Yet, on the station in the area of Kansai, you will find that seats in some platforms seem very different from those in Tokyo.

An example of seats at the Tokyo train station.

It is an example of a cab rider at a train station in Osaka.

Recently our Tokyo-based reporter, P.K. Sanjun took a trip to Osaka. He couldn’t help but wonder about the real reasons for their design. Did this simply go like Tokyo? Or was there another factor at play here?

To find out, he went straight to the local railway company, West Japan Railway Company, asking them why the seats are situated in distance from the trains and the sands, and they showed three fascinating reasons for the design.

I have seen that at Osaka and Hyogo stations. So I wanted to ask what the seats are facing parallel to the platform? What do you don’t see in Kanto?

JR West: The purpose of the reason is to prevent drunken customers from falling (on the train). Until they were installed, there were many cases where drunk people who were sitting on the seats stood up and fell off the platform.

P.K.: It will stop drunkens from falling off the platform? Does that mean that the design was different before?

JR West: Yes, it would take some time to check when they were officially introduced. But despite the new seat configurations that haven’t arrived since the first one was five or six years ago.

Hmmm.But, if the aim of the avoiding falls is to avoid, shouldn’t platform doors be installed instead?I think that there are some more people who have them at a station in the city centre.

JR West: I understand what you say. To be fair, Kansai has very complex routes, so it might be a bit complicated to install platform doors everywhere. Nevertheless, major stations like Osaka, Tsuruhashi, Kyobashi and Sannomiya are in need of platform doors.

Compared to Osaka, Tokyo has many more platform doors installed at the stations.

P.K.: I see.I guess the installation of platform doors must be very costly. Seats may be an expensive countermeasure.

JR West: I don’t know the cost details, but I think that’s probably part of the reason.JR West has been changing the seats in many stations over the past few years.

Thanks, the hell.

Following his conversation with JR West, P.K. discovered that the reason for the unusual seat positioning was to protect drunken customers from falling off the platform. But just before passing through a new station, he found a poster with the change in position of the seats and an explanation for the new design designed for the’syllable’ against drunken falls.

This is very difficult and expensive work at train stations in Japan, which includes a poster warning of dangers.

Since hurdles can’t be fixed yet, that doesn’t mean that a railway operator in Japan will rely on its hands and claim nothing can be done to fix the problem. As for JR West who seeks an alternative solution and came up with the simple, yet effective idea to change the position of the seats.

A simple change can save lives.

The seats at Kansai railway station are a new example of how Japanese’s dedication to customer service can lead to innovative UX (user experience) designs that create meaningful, relevant and memorable experiences for users.

We all love design ideas, like mirrors, red-and-yellow markings on the stairs and so many giant locks on the Japanese toilet!

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