Japan's trains are well known around the world for their inimitable punctuality, but we know that in actuality things happen and trains run late. The amazingly large number of commuters in big Japanese cities also contributes to another aspect of Japanese mass transit famed throughout the world: the crazy crowded Japanese rush hour.
Komi-Repo (こみれぽ; Congestion Report) is the perfect app to give you the low down on train delays and train crowding conditions in Japan.
Icons showing riding conditions and train delays are shown on the left side of the screen. Congestion is rated on a scale of 1 to 6, with 1 meaning it's easy to find a seat, 5 meaning it's impossible to move, and 6 meaning it's so full you can't get on. Just thinking of a 5 or 6 makes it difficult to breathe...
It also lets you know whether trains are running on time, delayed, or have been cancelled/suspended.
This information is constantly updated by other users of Komi-Repo. While you can get info on train delays and cancellations from train company websites, Komi-Repo offers real-time updates on crowd conditions, and therein lies its charm.
This app includes crowd-sourced information on train lines all across Japan (which is pretty amazing), but usually your daily commute only involves one or two. Searching each time for your specific train line would be annoying, so Komi-Repo offers bookmarking train lines and stations to your My Lines and My Stations lists. There's a limit to the number of bookmarks allowed, but that's just to make sure you get the information you need as fast as possible.
For a crowd-sourced app like this, contributions from users are necessary in order for the app to be useful. We, the users of the app, have to keep on top of reporting train conditions to keep this app up-to-date.
The app itself makes it very easy to report in. The app uses GPS to locate you and suggest stations and train lines in your vicinity to choose from, and all you have to do is drag the sliders for crowd and running conditions to submit your information.
You can also type in extra notes and, by linking your Twitter account, you can submit them via Twitter, for those of you who tweet your each and every move.
While it's just a personal observation, this app has lots of participation in the big cities, but there's almost no information for trains outside of metro-Japan.
So winter is beginning, and the snow and other bad weather that lead to train delays is just around the bend. How about taking this opportunity to hop on Congestion Report and add your own 2 cents?
Time Played: about 5 hours
Device used: EVO WiMAX ISW11HT
Publisher: NAVITIME JAPAN CO., LTD.
Last Updated: 11/22/2011
Compatibility: Android 2.1 or higher
Translation by Jason Morgan