I have always had a visit to Japan on my bucket list, and over the first two and a half weeks of February this year my wife and I, along with two friends were lucky enough to finally make the journey. It is a fascinating country and a friendly, easy place to visit despite the oral and written language differences.
One of the things we visited was the Sapporo Snow Festival which transforms a central area of the city into a collection of snow and ice sculptures, on a very large scale. As we were walking around we found this sculpture of a Japan Rail scene made entirely of snow. As you can see from this picture it is exquisitely carved and the details are incredible – they have even included perfectly formed ballast rocks and rails.
We travelled along the Tokyo Metro system and throughout Hokkaido by bus and rail.
The Tokyo rail system is a 'real rail experience' – fast, crowded and very efficient. On a number of occasions we had to make changes at the Shinjuku station which is enormous and navigating it is a real challenge. It services an average of 3.6 million passengers per day and is a labyrinth of tunnels, stairways, escalators, shops and a confusing number of exits.
People say that Japan Rail is one of the most reliable and punctual in the world and I am sure it is, however, in our short experience we found that they were not as good as we are in terms of punctuality. On a couple of our journeys the trains did not 'Right Time Start,' and a couple of others did not arrive at the station at the indicated time.
It was actually a pleasant reminder of how well Auckland is doing, and that we are among the best public transport services in the world.
Transdev and the RMTU have agreed to extend discussions. Monday’s negotiations were constructive, and both parties look forward to meeting again on Thursday.
I would like to remind everyone about the Diversity and Inclusion survey. I encourage you to participate and share your opinions – the survey is completely anonymous and will help make Transdev a better place to work. Entries close this Friday, 8 March.
Finally, I would like to highlight that International Women’s Day is this Friday. This is a day to appreciate our wives, sisters, daughters, aunts, nieces, mothers, grandmothers, colleagues and friends, and to reflect on the progress our society has made towards equality. We are lucky to work with some amazing women in this traditionally male-dominated industry, and Friday is a good time to be reminded of this.
Manager – People and Culture