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Japan taxis to adapt app for booking rides

/ 03:05 PM August 13, 2017

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Tokyo taxi companies have announced a new app that will show customers the final fare for a trip before they even book a ride.

The app’s function is noticeably similar to ride-hailing apps like Uber and Grab because it was created primarily for Japanese taxis to stay competitive, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

“We have to learn from and adopt overseas services, including app-based operations,” said Ichiro Kawanabe, head of the Tokyo Hire-Taxi Association and chairman of Tokyo-based taxi operator Nihon Kotsu, during the kickoff ceremony, as per report.

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Japanese roads are currently dominated by conventional taxis primarily because of a law that prohibits private drivers from transporting paying passengers. While Uber is already available in the country, its services are limited to food delivery and on-demand transportation.

As for the new taxi app, customers will be able to select a pickup and drop-off point. Fare will be calculated based on distance and time. Traffic conditions and route taken will not affect the final fare which will be presented to the customer before booking the ride.

The app will be on a trial period for two months where around a ninth of the total number of taxis in Tokyo will participate. This covers 44 taxi operators that have a total of 4,648 cars on the road, the report said.

Kawanabe also stated that Tokyo’s taxi fleet is due for an overhaul, with wagon-style vehicles being planned to be added: ”We will update the entire [taxi] industry.” Alfred Bayle/JB

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TAGS: fleet overhaul, ride-hailing apps, taxi, taxi app, Tokyo Taxi, trial run, Uber
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