Yamanote Line Platform Display Change – Where is the arrival time?

On October 15th, JR East announced a renewal of its platform display panels on the Yamanote Line in Tokyo. The change is to replace aging LED displays with more advanced, info heavy LCD displays.

Before and after of the displays (left: now, right: after).

At the same time, there’s a tiny change to the display of arrival information. The current way had the time of arrival marked, yet the new way will show the train arriving “in X minutes”. This change will applies to the panels during non-rush and late night hours, starting from November ’19. After that, English announcements will be introduced gradually to all JR lines running in and through Tokyo.

The replacement of LED to LCD panels are reasonable. Yet the change of arrival time format is kinda… vague. As of now, we have the exact arrival time for each train (the same as the official timetable). From November, we will have only a vague “in X minutes”. It’s not that a big deal, and in fact it is easier to read in the new panels. Yet, with Japan’s railways being on time most of the time, it seems a bit strange to change the arrival time displayed to be “in X minutes”.

But what do you think about this change? Do you think it is better to use the “in X minutes” way to display train arrival times? Let us know in the comments!

Press release (in Japanese): https://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2019/tokyo/20191015_1_to.pdf