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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cats can Improve Station Popularity

We're not talking about fat cats here (not the
100 people earning over £100K at TfL), but real cats. Thanks to Jon Justice, I learnt that a cat named Tama was officially named Station Master at an unmanned station in the Wakayama Electric Railway (Japan, where else?).

Tama the Station Master Cat - I can haz Oystercard

Well, the feline Station Master has proved to be incredibly popular, drawing extra tourists to the station and generating a nice little earner for the Railway.

Here's how the cat got to be a station master & some of its duties (according to JapanProbe who translated the video clips)

In January of 2007, the president of the railway decided that Tama, a cat belonging to a shopkeeper at an unmanned station on the line, would be named stationmaster.

Stationmaster Tama begins every day with a stretch on the floor of his master's shop. He then puts on his stationmaster cap and greets customers as they leave and enter the station during the morning rush hour. His master sometimes helps him wave to train passengers.

Much of Tama's day is spent entertaining fans who have come to catch a glimpse of the famous stationmaster. A shop at the station sells a variety of Tama-branded souvenir goods, including buttons, snacks, and a special photo book.

When Tama puts his front legs together, the patterns on his fur form a heart shape. It is said that it is good luck for couples to visit Tama and be shown the heart mark.

Stationmaster Tama sometimes gives radio interviews and attends local events as a VIP.

Perhaps we ought to have some cats manning un-manned stations on the London Underground. I know the unions would need to get involved to make sure they had worked their way up the ranks and had the required skills. But I think they'd do alright. Cats are quite good at looking as though they don't give a shit. They do things in their own time, yawn & stretch a lot and probably wouldn't need to be paid much in the way of a salary.

; Posted by Unknown Thursday, April 24, 2008 Permalink COMMENT HERE