Tokyo Introduces ‘Rescue Bus’ to Save Drunk Party-Goers

Fell asleep on the last train home and missed your stop? Tokyo's "Oversleeping Rescue Bus" is here to help.
Photo via Flickr user Jeremy Lim

It’s 1 AM. You caught the last train despite being royally boozed. Triumphant, you settle in with your greasy cardboard box of food, unaware of the fate that is about to befall you. Fifty-five minutes later, you awake on the outskirts of Reading, with only a cold, half-eaten nugget for company.

Falling asleep on the last train home is a fate familiar to any regular drinker, which is why one Japanese transport company has set up a special late night bus service for boozed commuters.

As reported by Japanese news site RocketNews24, the “Oversleeping Rescue Bus” was established by Nishi Tokyo Bus Company in 2014, and runs along Tokyo’s Chuo line after the last train to the suburbs of Tokyo. Travelling from Takao Station back to Hachioji Station, just east of downtown Tokyo, the bus is designed to help inebriated passengers for the reasonable price of 880 Yen (£5.95).

This is the fourth year in the row that the drunk bus has ferried Tokyo’s party-goers back to the warm embraces of their apartments. Departing early Sunday mornings, it is planned to run for three weekends in December. In former years, the Rescue Bus has saved as many as 75 passengers over three nights on their way home after the sesh.

Although Japan is not renowned for its binge drinking culture (a 2015 report put the country’s booze consumption as the lowest in years), the yearly launch of the booze bus coincides with Bonenkai, an annual, end-of-year celebration that centres around drinking alcohol to forget the woes of the year.

Otherwise known as: your Friday evening.