Japan will bring bullet train to Florida?

23 Nov

Japan is well-known for it’s excellent public transportation system. Especially in big cities like Tokyo.
Japan’s trains, buses and subways are clean, safe, extremely punctual, convenient and affordable.

Even though the taxis here aren’t really affordable (a taxi ride in Japan is pricey), they’re also clean, safe and convenient.

You may also know that Japan has an excellent 「新幹線」 (“Bullet train” (or “Shinkansen” in Japanese)) system.

"Shinkansen" (Bullet train) passing Mt. Fuji.

Japan’s 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) system is the world’s busiest and fastest bullet-train service.
The speed record was set a few years ago when the 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) reached a speed of over 580 km/hr on a test-run. With passengers though, the trains travel up to about 300 km/hr.

When U.S. President Obama announced that America would begin building and using bullet-trains systems in various parts of America with the first one scheduled to connect Tampa, Florida (my hometown) to Orlando and Miami, Florida many bullet-train companies around the world began bidding for the contract to build Florida’s first high-speed train service.

Map of Florida showing the planned bullet-train routes.

Companies in Canada, Germany and France are competing with Japan for the contract.

But it seems that Japan’s JR Tokai company has a good chance of winning the bid.

If Japan wins the bid then Florida will have a 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) system like Japan’s.

 

One of JR Tokai's 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) trains.

I wonder if America will be able to maintain the punctuality, safety and convenience of Japan’s train systems.

Have you ever ridden a 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) in Japan? Or any of Japan’s trains or subways?
Have you taken public transportation in other countries?
What are your impressions?

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By the way, today is a national holiday in Japan…「勤労感謝の日」 (“Labor Day”). (Click here to read my short “F.A.Q.” about it.)

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13 Responses to “Japan will bring bullet train to Florida?”

  1. jaydeejapan November 23, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    There’s been a debate over the past 5 years or so about having a high speed rail connection between my hometown of Edmonton and Calgary in Canada. However, the top speed wouldn’t be anywhere near the shinkansen. Also, what was tested was Bombardier’s jet engine propelled train. I don’t know if there will ever be a high speed rail line between the two cities, but who knows?

    I’m looking forward to the maglev line that’s being built between Tokyo and Nagoya.

    • tokyo5 November 23, 2010 at 11:11 pm #

      >a high speed rail connection between my hometown of Edmonton and Calgary in Canada.

      Are trains and other forms of public transportation popular in Canada?
      There was basically no public transportation systems in Florida to speak of when I lived there…so I was surprised that the area I grew up in is planning to get a bullet train system!

      • jaydeejapan November 24, 2010 at 12:14 am #

        Well, the train systems in Canadian cities aren’t as extensive as many other places. Cars rule. In Edmonton, there’s one LRT line from the southern end to the northeastern corner (underground through downtown). They’re constructing a northern line now. A western line and a southeastern line are in planning stages, and should begin construction within a couple years. Buses are more commonly used, but it takes a while to get anywhere. Edmonton is a huge, sprawling city, physically larger than most major cities in North America. It desperately needs rapid public transport.

      • tokyo5 November 24, 2010 at 12:28 am #

        >It (Canada) desperately needs rapid public transport.

        I think Japan is a model for successful public transportation that the world should follow.

  2. bartman905 November 23, 2010 at 11:54 pm #

    Yes, I have ridden the subways and trains (including the Shinkansen) in Japan and I think they are probably the best in the world in terms of safety and schedule (though some other countries may argue). I also rode an overnight train (not a bullet train) in Europe awhile ago and have ridden subways in Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan recently.

    In Canada, I don’t think trains or public transportation are as popular as driving in cars, vans, SUVs, RV, etc. – I guess people in North America like to drive, not ride the train. Toronto probably has the worse subway system in the world as a compared to other major metropolitan cities :-(. Yes, I drive in Toronto and don’t take the public transit, unlike when we lived in Tokyo.

    • tokyo5 November 24, 2010 at 12:04 am #

      >I think they (Japan’s train and subway system) are probably the best in the world in terms of safety and schedule

      I agree.

      >I guess people in North America like to drive, not ride the train

      Yes. When I lived in Florida, everyone drove their own car. I’m sure it’s still like that now.

      I can’t speak for other cities, but I think public transportation isn’t popular in Florida because they’re not convenient or punctual.
      I had never even seen a passenger train in Florida ever and the buses were never on time.

      Tokyo, on the other hand, has train and subway stations everywhere as well as bus stops…and they all arrive on time—to the minute.

  3. gigihawaii November 24, 2010 at 2:02 am #

    I rode the subway to and from the zoo in Tokyo, but never took the bullet train. I rode the taxi almost exclusively, because we were unable to read Japanese signs and had to ask the driver to drop us off in front of the restaurants.

    • tokyo5 November 24, 2010 at 11:14 pm #

      >I rode the subway to and from the zoo in Tokyo

      Just a technicality, but I think you probably took a train (above ground), not a “subway” (underground).
      There are a number of zoos in and around Tokyo and they all have “train” stations near them. Only one has a subway station as well.
      You mentioned to me before that the hotel you stayed at during your Tokyo trip was in Shinagawa. And also that you visited the “Ueno Zoo” in Tokyo.

      So I’m sure you took the JR “Yamanote train line” from Shinagawa Station to Ueno Station near the zoo.

      >never took the bullet train.

      If you visit Japan again and have the chance…you should ride a 新幹線 (bullet train).

      >I rode the taxi almost exclusively, because we were unable to read Japanese

      Taking a taxi is easier and Japan doesn’t having a culture of “tipping” taxi drivers…but the fare is high. Riding in taxis adds up.
      You could have asked the staff of the hotel you stayed at to give you train directions to where you wanted to go.

  4. tokyo5 February 20, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    It seems that Florida decided that they don’t need a bullet-train system after all.
    The Florida governor announced that they’re canceling the contract.

  5. Mary M February 15, 2013 at 12:17 am #

    I’m a fan of the trains in Japan and hope that we get the high speed trains in the US! I am super excited to have stumbled upon your post! Thanks for sharing the info!

    • tokyo5 February 15, 2013 at 1:49 am #

      I think America decided against getting a bullet train system.

      • Mary M February 15, 2013 at 11:27 am #

        Awe! That stinks!

      • tokyo5 February 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

        It was decided that it wouldn’t be worth the cost … not enough people would use it.

        I wrote a comment about it here.

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