Within the Greater Tokyo area the transportation system includes private and public networks that includes rail, road and air travel both internationally and for domestic purposes. Tokyo has the world’s most extensive urban rail network. There are 158 lines operated by 48 separate companies with over 4700 km of track and over 2200 stations. With each operator managing its own network it is a collection of rail networks rather than one network and so the figures available of 40 million daily passengers is not correct as many urban rail commuters will have travelled on more than one network (the metropolitan area has a population of 36 million).Walking and cycling are more common in Tokyo than in many other cities around the world, while privately owned vehicles are less common than in other major cities.
Urban Rail Network
The railway is the principal form of transport used in the Greater Tokyo area with 882 stations within the metropolis itself, 282 of which are subway stations. There are several hundred more stations in the densely populated suburban prefectures surrounding the city itself. With so many companies operating their own network and as expansions continue this separated service continues with companies only producing maps of their own system it can be very confusing for travelers, particularly those from overseas. Trains have a reputation for being overcrowded, especially at peak travel times. Oshiya, or pushers, have in the past been employed to get people onto the trains so the doors can close.
Passengers may have to pass through several networks to get into and then across the city. This requires going through ticketing gates and purchasing a separate ticket for each network and extending the cost. For tourists this system can be very confusing in a city where they do not know their way around. Local commuters, when they can use one operator and will walk or cycle to their destination in preference to buying a second ticket to a station closer to their destination. The railways usually operate until around midnight with the entire system closed up by about 1am.
Buses and trams
Buses that operate in the public sector in Tokyo mainly serve the purpose of providing passengers with a service to and from the train stations. The only exceptions to this are the long distance bus services operating between two cities. Buses across Tokyo serve areas that are not covered by the rail networks and airport shuttle services carrying people with heavy luggage. Some bus companies have a fixed charge on their routes, others charge according to the distance of your journey. Tokyo Toden operates the tram network within the city which at one time had 41 routes and 213 km of track. The service today has just one tram line in operation and one light rail line.
Taxis across Tokyo
Taxis in the city play a similar role to that of the buses in that they are there to supplement the rail system taking passengers to and from stations. Taxis play an important role in the sity after midnight when the trains stop operating. Many business people choose to use taxis over trains because of the convenience as do small groups of people. Some taxis charge up to 20% higher fares from 10pm until 5am, although other keep to the same fares in an effort to compete in what is a very competitive market.