Real Humans as Customer Service: Why Japan Has the Best Public Transportation

Posted by Yasha Wallin

If you've traveled at all, chances are you've had that uncomfortable moment of trying to navigate a foreign city's public transportation system. Signs and instructions aren't in your mother tongue and the train lines look far different than the ones you're used to at home. In most cases, you're left to your own devices—to either awkwardly ask for the help of strangers, or to just wing it and see what happens. But in Japan, where they stand by the statement, "the customer is God," helping the public is a priority. In the video below, you'll see that this makes for some very happy—and not lost—public transportation-riders.

What are your own experiences taking public transportation in a new city? Have people been helpful? Have you found yourself on adventures that you didn't necessarily bargain for?

This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship—weekly steps to being an active, engaged global citizen. This week: Take Public Transportation. Follow along and join the conversation at and on Twitter at #goodcitizen.