The introduction of triple-track services in sections currently operating double-tracks contributes to the alleviation of railway congestion. Private railways in the Tokyo area operate local trains calling at all stations and express trains stopping only at main stations. Having separate rails for local and express trains could effectively increase service speed and ease peak-hour congestion. Tobu, Seibu, Odakyu, Keio, and Tokyu railway companies are utilizing Reserve Fund Plan for Promotion of Railway Construction in Designated Cities to introduce triple tracks for services near the city center and to implement other major improvements.
Reserve Fund Plan for Promotion of Railway Construction in Designated Cities
This plan involves the introduction of triple-track services and other railway improvements of a major scale in new urban railway lines. The system allows railway companies to raise train fares to secure interest-free funds to implement such improvements. Under the plan, when railway companies apply for a fare increase, the Ministry of Transport will approve an increase beyond the "fair return" ceiling. Increased income, generated from the extra fare increase, will be held tax-free within the company, earmarked for a construction fund. Each company is allowed by the Ministry of Transport to raise funds through this system to cover up to 50% of construction costs. However, the five companies currently using this system are only accumulating 1% to 9%. The plan, introduced in 1986, did lead to the completion of several railway sections. In the 1997 revision of train fares, Keio, which has completed all of its expansion plans, actually lowered its fares by eliminating the "top-up" portion.