Information Transit Infrastructure

TRANSIT members express their sadness over the earthquake & tsunami that struck Northeast Japan on 11 March 2011

Yesterday’s fifth most powerful earthquake to hit the earth in 100 years has caused massive mayhem in Tokyo, where millions of commuters were stranded when the capital’s massive subway & train system was completely shut down.

Not long ago, we came across an article that brought up the issue of what will happen to 8 million commuters of the world’s largest metropolitan area if the extensive metro system suddenly went down.

Now, the fear has turned into a reality. Millions of commuters had to wait hundreds of meters of queue lines to catch buses and taxis, and millions more slept overnight at workplaces and subway stations. Think of families, loved ones separated from each other.

Tokyo bicycle shops are showing strong sales tonight as stranded commuters look for an alternative way home.

There are even reports of 4 missing intercity trains in the northeast part of Japan.

TRANSIT is saddened by the loss of lives and the damage caused by the earthquake & tsunami.

We all hope that Japan will recover soon from these tragic events.

7 replies on “TRANSIT members express their sadness over the earthquake & tsunami that struck Northeast Japan on 11 March 2011”

I send my deepest sympathy and condolences to all the great earthquake victims and family. Hopefully, all public transport systems will be back in order soon. RIP!

I wonder would happen to KL if that were to happen here. Obviously most KL people might not get stranded as most have their own private transport. I suppose this is one of the mega disadvantages of public transport. You ahem become reliant on a system that if it fails, you become stranded and that’s it.

Hi Bob Dylan

You raise a fair point about one of the disadvantages of public transport – in many cases you are tied to the schedule and the service offered (routes, frequency, time of day etc).

On the other hand, if you own a car you are financially tied to the car (servicing debt, petrol, insurance, maintenance, parking, tolls, and other social, personal & environmental costs). So there are advantages and disadvantages either way.

It’s worth pointing out that Japanese public transport is highly reliable and this combination earthquake + tsunami is a “once-in-a-few-centuries” type of disaster.

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

Hello Bob

Tokyo is a classical example of a transit city, where high density population resides along rail corridors. The megalopolis can’t sustain itself without public transport. Imagine, 8 million commuters in their own private vehicles scrambling to reach downtown Tokyo.

If they’d build multi-storey elevated bridges for 8 million car trips to downtown Tokyo, it would be more catastrophic – imagine layers of pancaked Kei Cars (kancil) flattened by tonnes of elevated sky bridges, metals and concretes.



umm I think the “earthquake + tsunami ” combination is more common than you think. In fact most tsunami’s are caused by earthquake and very rarely by ice bergs. Also, guess what caused the 2004 tsunami.

Anyways, I think a bus public transport system should be on par with a car based private transport system in this sense. Unless the roads get damaged… Then I suppose we should all just hope for flying cars πŸ™‚

And it doesn’t take just natural disasters such as these to ruin something like public transport. Case in point the black out that engulfed the north east US in 2003.


Millions were stranded in trains and the airports couldn’t operate, apparently the more technologically advanced we become, the more reliant we become on electricity.

Which reminds me, I hope the Japanese nuclear situation isn’t as bad as it is.

@Bob Dylan

Yes, the combination of Earthquake + tsunami is common – and tsunami is a Japanese word so we know that they have experienced these disasters frequently enough to be the ones to choose the name.

But earthquake + tsunami of this level of severity do not happen that often.

You do raise a good point about the blackout in the Northeast United States. Fortunately, many transit systems did have backup power generation for temporary movement. We have had our own experience with serious power outages in the Klang Valley as well.

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

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