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How to survive the rush hour in Tokyo's subway

Rail is the primary mode of transport in Tokyo. Tokyo has the most extensive urban railway network and the most used in the world with 40 million passengers in the metro area daily. There are 882 interconnected rail stations in the Tokyo Metropolis, 282 of which are Subway stations.
Shinjuku Station is the busiest train station in the world. Serving as the main connecting hub for rail traffic between central Tokyo and its western suburbs on inter-city rail, commuter rail, and metro lines, the station was used by an average of 3.64 million people per day.
Trains are often extremely crowded in Tokyo at peak travel times, so people have to be pushed into the trains. It's as crowded like a “cattle cart”.
A pusher, “oshiya” in Japanese, is a worker who pushes people onto the train at a railway station during the morning and evening rush hours. When they were first brought in at Shinjuku Station, they were called "passenger arrangement staff", and were largely made up of students working part-time. Nowadays, station staff and/or part-time workers fill these roles during morning rush hours on many lines. It becomes difficult to shut the doors when the number of passengers is over 200% of a train's capacity, but pushers are often stationed on platforms when trains are at around 120% capacity,as they also help to organize passengers.
The steps undertaken in the work of pushers include:
1. Before the train enters the platform, they perform safety checks.
2. When the train arrives, watching the passengers get on and off the train.
3. They guide passengers who can’t find the space to get onto the train where there is more room.
4. When the doors close, they check that no passengers or items of baggage are stuck in the doors.
5. If any passengers are trapped, they go to push them.
6. When they have finished their area, they go to help in another area. At this point, if the straps of a bag, particularly a rucksack, are trapped, as the doors do not open immediately, it may be difficult for the owner of the bag to get off the train. Pushers watch especially carefully for this. They also do the work of a "puller-off", pulling off passengers who try to get on too late, or when the train is too full.
7. After the doors have closed, they hold up a flag, hand, or lamp to signal the conductor or driver that it is safe to depart.

But it is not just Tokyo where the subway lines are crowded. All around the world, there are huge masses use this kind of transportation. So the scenario is the same in London, in New York or in the stations of Mumbai. The only difference is, that they do not have an “oshiya” helping.

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Location: Tokyo, Japan

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Reporter: Szandra Csont
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