By Barrier Free Japan
March 13 2021
The Chunichi Shimbun reported on March 11 that JR Tokaido will increase the number of spaces for wheelchairs on its Shinkansen or ‘bullet trains’ from two to six spaces.
The “N700S” of the Tokaido Shinkansen, which will be newly launched after mid-April this year will hace six spaces for wheelchaor users.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, which was aiming to increase the number of wheelchair seats on the Shinkansen, revised the ministerial ordinance to oblige new Shinkansen cars, which have more than 1,000 seats per train, to secure six seats from July.
The conventional trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen have two wheelchair spaces per train. In 2009, Senator Eiko Kimura of the Reiwa Shinsengumi raised the issue that the number and size of wheelchair users were insufficient, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, JR, and related organizations have been discussing the issue.
JR Tokai plans to introduce 28 new N700S trains in the two years from the new year. If the launch proceeds as planned, 20% of the company’s cars will be organized with six seats.
For rides after May 20th, in addition to telephone reservations, reservations using the “EX service” that can be used from smartphones and PCs will be started on a trial basis for the existing two seats.
JR East also announced on the 10th that it will increase the wheelchair space, which was previously the maximum of two seats, to four seats in the E7 series of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, which will be newly launched after July.