New service guarantees you a seat on the ride home during peak rush hour periods.

There’s nothing worse than leaving the office after a long Japanese workday only to be faced with a crowded commute home. While Tokyo’s trains become famously packed during peak-hour periods, the Keio Line that runs from Shinjuku to the outer suburban city of Hachioji is known for being one of the most congested rides in Japan, even with services running as frequently as one minute apart during the busiest periods of the day.

With little chance of finding a seat and the prospect of being pressed up against a stranger for the best part of an hour, private railway operator Keio Corporation has been looking for ways to make the journey home significantly more bearable for their passengers.

In September last year, the company announced that they would be introducing a new service to their network, with a new “Keio Liner” train set to run in 2018. This introductory video that accompanied the announcement showed some of the initial features, which appear like a dream to one of their tired passengers.

Yesterday, Keio Corp. finally revealed the start date for their long-awaited new service, set to begin from 22 February, with a new video showcasing all the new features customers can look forward to.

Take a look at the latest promo video for the new service here:

One of the Keio Liner’s main drawcards is the fact that it offers reserved seating for passengers, which is a first for a Keio-run train. During the day, the seats will be lined up facing each other on either side of the carriage, acting as a normal unreserved service, but when night falls, the seats will be turned inwards to create forward-facing pairs for the reserved seating service.

This new service, which requires prior reservation on their website or at designated ticket machines inside Shinjuku Station, ensures that passengers will be able to secure a seat for their journey home. Reserved seating costs an extra 400 yen per person, on top of the regular fare price.

▼ If you’re wondering what the frog is doing in the video clips, it’s a play on the word “kaeru”, which can mean both “frog” and “return home”.

The train is also equipped with a number of extra features, including electric sockets at each seat so commuters can charge their devices during the ride.

Free Wi-Fi throughout the whole train.

▼ And Panasonic’s nanoe air-purifying system on board.

The reserved-seating Keio Liner will be limited to five services per day on weekdays (at the top of the timetables below) and five services on weekends and public holidays (at the bottom of the timetables below), running to two separate destinations.

Shinjuku to Hashimoto: Shinjuku → Keio Nagayama → Keio Tama Center → Minami-Osawa → Hashimoto

Shinjuku to Keio Hachioji: Shinjuku → Fuchu → Bubaigawara → Seiseki Sakuragaoka → Takahatafudo → Kitano → Keio Hachioji

So if you’re looking to rest your legs and enjoy a pleasant ride out of the city after a long day, the new Keio Liner looks set to make your dreams come true.

For those wanting even more luxury on a much longer journey, though, nothing quite beats this luxury train that departs from platform 13½ at Tokyo’s Ueno Station!

Source: Keio Dentetsu via Net Lab
Featured image: YouTube/鉄道京王電鉄
Insert images: YouTube/鉄道京王電鉄,  Keio Dentetsu