Some international airports are providing travelers with an innovative alternative to dozing off in an airport lounge for hours waiting for a connecting flight — local bus tours.
Japan’s Narita International Airport in Tokyo began offering bus tours on a trial basis in October. The new tours, designed for transit passengers, were developed by Japan’s Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry.
English-speaking guides are included on the tours, which range from three hours ($5-$26) to a full day ($43-$60). Depending on the day of the week, tours visit various sites such as a sake brewery to temples and museums, reported The Japan Times.
The tours were developed as a way to enhance services at international airports, said Hirokazu Tanaka, of the ministry’s Civil Aviation Bureau. Many passengers who stop at Narita before heading to their destination cities often wait three to six hours at the airport, he said.
Japan’s Kansai and Chubu international airports also provide similar tours.
S. Africans deem public transport unreliable
South Africa’s first Car-free Day, a government initiative designed to encourage the use of public transportation, failed to make an impact on chronic congestion plaguing its major cities. According to a National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), an estimated 10 million people regularly travel to work in the region, with about one-third of them driving cars. Private car use has worsened congestion in major cities, especially Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg.
South Africans who did not support the one-day initiative said it was due to the unreliability of public transportation in the region, reported the Xinhua News Agency. Business and political groups were also critical of the experiment, saying the system needs an overhaul.
The NHTS proposed a more effective system of public transport subsidies, which would help the development of future rail and road infrastructure.