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I always hear "to launch an app" or "to launch a campaign."

Can "launch" be used in a situation like this?

In 2010, Tokyo Metro launched the women-only passenger cars.

I have doubts because I think I've never heard the word being used in public transportation. Also, when I asked a native English speaker, he chose the term to put into operation.

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One of the more figurative definitions of "launch" is "put into operation" (see verb definition 2c-1). It can be used for any new enterprise, including ones related to transportation. Example:

Recently Uber launched their "Uber Eats" program, which allows you to order food from your favorite restaurant and have it delivered by an Uber driver.

Because "launch" is a rather dramatic term, it's generally used for the new release of some significant service. It's personal opinion whether simply designating women-only train carriages is significant enough.

It may depend on how big a deal Tokyo Metro is making of the new service. If they have extensively promoted the new service, then "launch" might make sense. Otherwise I agree the less dramatic "put into operation" sounds better.

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