Tokyo’s taxi industry undergoes radical changes

Tokyo’s taxi industry undergoes radical changes

Tokyo’s taxi industry undergoes radical changes

Written by Keshala Dias

23 May, 2018 | 11:15 am

Tokyo’s taxi industry is undergoing some radical changes as Japan, already dealing with unprecedented levels of tourism, prepares to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics.

The government has set a goal of 40 million foreign visitors to Japan by 2020, up from 28 million tourists in 2017. The number of taxis on the roads in Tokyo is expected to stay the same at around 35,000 but taxi operators are now bringing in foreign drivers, such as Austrian Wolfgang Loeger, to upgrade its pool of drivers.

Loeger, who is fluent in Japanese, English and German, is one of 22 foreign drivers hired by Tokyo taxi firm Hinomaru to make visitors feel more at home when they go around town. The capital’s taxi fleet is also getting a facelift, after Toyota launched the JPN Taxi model in October 2017.

Toyota says the new model, which is more environmentally friendly and wheelchair accessible, will make up over a third of the fleet by 2020.


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