A Japanese commuter train company issued a public apology after one of its trains departed 20 seconds earlier than its scheduled time, proving that customer service reigns supreme.
The Tsukuba Express line, which runs between Tokyo and the city of Tsukuba, left the station a tad bit too early, and management promptly announced that they “sincerely apologize for the inconvenience," BBC News reports.
The company said the train had been scheduled to leave at 9:44:40 local time but left at 9:44:20. The fact that the company felt the need to apologize for such a slight error caught many on social media by surprise.
Some people detailed their own public transit horror stories as a means of praising Japan for actually caring about their riders.
Tokyo train company’s apology for 20-second-early departure is one of the best things about Japan https://t.co/chfzE5uZMU— Stan Yee (@stanyee) November 16, 2017
So in Japan, a train leaves 20 seconds early and the management apologises but then there is Singapore, where after 20 mins of delay, there will be another 10-15 mins delay pic.twitter.com/yxXeh5xL4h— •Charlie.X.Diamond• (@charliexdiamond) November 16, 2017
So an apology was issued because a train in Japan left twenty seconds early— Alex Berry (@yrrebRBLX) November 16, 2017
In the UK you barely get an apology even if half the trains are running
I’m moving to Japan.. https://t.co/FCG2IPmb2D— Tolga Kilinc (@Quernica) November 16, 2017
The mistake occurred because staff members reportedly did not check the timetable.
“The crew did not sufficiently check the departure time and performed the departure operation," a statement from the company read.
As BBC notes, Japan is known for having one of the world’s most reliable railways, and as such, it is extremely rare for a train to depart at a different time than scheduled.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder why management felt this apology was necessary as they have a reputation to keep, and today’s blunder could have jeopardized their good name.