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For someone whose job it is to drive a train or a bus full of passengers, the safety of those passengers is paramount. The training these drivers have to go through is pretty intensive and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the list of things they can and cannot do while on the job.

But let’s check a couple of things on this list. Did you know that while a train is stationary, the operator is allowed to take a drink of water? Sounds reasonable. However, did you know that they have to fill out a report every time they do?

Or at least this was the case for the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central). Previously on these train lines, regulations stated that the train operator was allowed to re-hydrate only while the train was stopped. However, if they did drink water, they had to report it on the comm and when they finished their shift, they had to submit a written report logging the time, where, the reason for doing so and if there were any customer complaints as a result of their sipping water.

tokai 2Image: Flickr (williami5)

That seems like a lot of hassle just to take a sip of high quality H2O. The train staff also seemed to agree as operators for JR Central were ignoring the urge drink and thus were suffering from symptoms of heatstroke. The situation got so dire that trains had to make emergency stops because the driver was feeling unwell. This inconvenienced the passengers even more than a little sip of water might have, as now they were stuck on trains that weren’t moving.

▼ “Hit that button and get me some water, the radio, a pen and form C584-9”

tokai 3Image: Flickr (Yuli Chua)

Thankfully, this mandate for a tedious report has been removed for lines operated by JR Central and they are urging their staff to keep themselves hydrated during their shifts. This change in policy comes as a surprise to many people who were perhaps unaware of a drinking water report. Others dismissed it as a symptom of Japanese bureaucracy.

“Writing a report just for drinking water is annoying.”
“They probably don’t want to write a report, so they just endure it.”
“I wondered about what they did while the train was moving, but not being able to just drink water while stopped…that’s just sad.”
“I’m really surprised that there’s someone who complains that the train driver is drinking water. I can understand if they were smoking or something, but for drinking water?”
“I’ve heard they control what you eat the day before and how much you sleep.”
“What other reason is there for drinking water besides ‘I’m thirsty’?”

With the month of May already bringing temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), the summer months ahead guarantee hot and muggy weather. At least you will know that if you are riding on the JR Central lines, your train won’t make an emergency stop due to your driver passing out from heatstroke…anymore.

Source: Itai News
Top Image: Flickr (Toshihiro Gamo)