On November 10, the Tokushima Newspaper reported on use of the boats for the Hyotan-jima River Boat Cruise as water buses within the city bounds:
November 10 saw the start of a social experiment in Tokushima City aimed at promoting a shift from use of personal transportation methods to public transport for the daily commute. Planned by the Tokushima Environment Citizens’ Council, comprised of men and women from both industrial and academic backgrounds, the plan was designed to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions produced in the city.
In order to further promote the use of public transport, the Citizen’s Council decided to place three community cycle stations in the city offering bicycles free for rent, and through cooperation with the Shinmachi River Preservation Committee, use the boats for the Hyotan-jima River Boat Cruise as free water buses for the duration of the experiment.
The water buses have four stops, found on the north side of Ryogoku Bridge and the riverfront by the Prefectural Government Office, and operate in a clockwise and anti-clockwise ring around Hyotan-jima during rush hour, with three runs in either direction. A total of 10 passengers were recorded for the first session on the morning of the first day.
Amongst these passengers were employees of the Awa Bank and Prefectural Government who had chosen to use the public transportation instead of their private vehicles.
Assistant Department Head for the Environment and Citizens’ Affairs Department Ryuichi Omura had the following comment of his commute from Yoshinogawa City via train. “When I go by train I can take some time to rest, and it’s good to feel in tune with the conversations and fashion of those around you. It also felt very good to walk by the riverside and watch the scenery roll by. This is something you miss out when driving your car.”