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Bus service in Ken Shimura’s hometown steps up to help locals

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Ginga Tetsudo (Galaxy Express), a bus company in the western Tokyo city of Higashimurayama, is decidedly unconventional in its approach to doing business.

Ignoring profitability, the company takes on the role of a "community transportation" provider.

Local seniors who have surrendered their driver’s licenses can ride Ginga's bus for free for one year.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of 2011, the company transported volunteer relief workers to the region on many occasions.

With the COVID-19 crisis raging, Ginga started running a free commuter service between Higashimurayama and central Tokyo.

"Business-wise, we are barely hanging in there," said Ginga president Hiroaki Yamamoto, 56. "But precisely because everyone is having........

© The Asahi Shimbun