JAPAN - Central Japan Railway Co. will remove vending machines for drinks from its Shinkansen trains on March 15, when it revises its train timetable, company officials said.
JR Tokai's move comes in response to a continued yearly decline in the use of coin-operated vending machines for canned juice and other refreshments aboard its Shinkansen trains. This is partly because more passengers have been buying drinks at stores at stations, where bento and other items can be purchased before boarding trains.
Vending machines are currently installed at two to four locations on each train on the Tokaido Shinkansen, according to JR Tokai and other sources. However, those machines will no longer be available beginning March 15. Instead, equipment used to provide passengers with wireless LAN service will be placed in the spots where the machines now stand.
Aboard the Sanyo Shinkansen of West Japan Railway Co., vending machines will be available only on cars that run into the Kyushu Shinkansen, while East Japan Railway Co. will offer none aboard its trains.
"Many passengers buy ekiben and drinks together before they board the shinkansen. Also, it's troublesome for them to walk to vending machines when drinks are being sold on carts," a JR West employee said.