Business Advice

Why this Japanese company apologised for its train leaving 20 seconds early

Emma Koehn /

Efficient service is a top priority for every business, but one Japanese company has highlighted that speed counts for nothing if it doesn’t meet the needs of customers.

The management team of the Metropolitan Inter City Rail Company, which operates the Tsukuba rail line from Tokyo, has issued an apology to customers after one of its services departed 20 seconds before schedule, reports the BBC. 

While the company said there were no customer complaints as a result, it informed its users that an incident had resulted in staff not properly checking the to-the-second departure time, and taking off ahead of schedule.

While nobody had complained to the company that they missed the train because of this, management said it was focused on reflecting on the error with staff to make sure no similar problems happened in future which could affect people.

Across the world, the apology has captured the attention of public transport operators and users, who have praised the incredibly high standards of the business.

Japanese rail operators are focused on efficiency, reports the BBC, acknowledging a service leaving early can have just as big an impact on customer’s planning as if a train were delayed.

“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to you by our customers,” the company said in a statement.

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is a former senior journalist at SmartCompany.

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