Uber to start first taxi-hailing pilot program in Japan

By Taro Karibe

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But Uber said in a statement Tuesday it would launch a pilot program this summer to hook up tourists and residents in the western Awaji island with available taxi drivers.

So if they are hooking up with existing taxi-companies, where does Uber make any money?

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where consumers order an unlicensed car via a smartphone app.

Get the facts correct, in Japan Uber cars are licensed and you need a taxi license.

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Gogogo - where is that law?

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Not the optimum outcome...

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"Uber is far from alone in targeting the Japanese taxi market, with Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing and Japanese telecom firm SoftBank announcing a deal in early February to develop a taxi app in Japan."

And Uber will be left with where they are now - the boondocks Didi Chuxing and Softbank don't want.

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Uber is a scam.  Taxis are ubiquitous in urban Japan.  no need for this nonsense.  Uber already gave up in SE Asia and sold to Grab.  Same will happen here.

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Uber is awesome for late night rides. They don't charge the 20% night surcharge that regular taxis do. Ends up being much cheaper, especially for longer rides.

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Uber is a scam.

It's not though. I've been using it (and similar services) a lot over the past year. As a consumer, they are great. Set the pickup and destination, and you just get in the car, and get out when you arrive. You get an email a few minutes later telling you how much your ride was. And while you are waiting, you can see exactly where the driver is, so that you can time your exit or whatever to meet them.

The overall experience in general is just done so much better than the traditional taxi service, and usually around 60-80% of the cost of a taxi.

Taxis are ubiquitous in urban Japan.

They are. And the taxis in Japan are great - some of the best in the world in my opinion. They are clean, and I love the opening of the door for passengers to get out. I've still never seen that in another country. They have gotten a little easier to pay with due to being able to use Suica, but you still have to go through the process of paying.

The problem with ride sharing services is that they don't pay their drivers enough to maintain their cars. They make money while the car is running, but when they have to fix it, it hits deep. And they get a lot more wear and tear on their cars because they are driving. And with other companies stepping in and doing the same, they compete, and it becomes a race to the bottom, where the driver ends up being the one taking the hit. Taxi drivers charge more, but they are also more able to properly maintain their taxis and provide a better service.

So there are pros and cons to both systems. Personally, I'd like to see a middle ground. Taxis using a ride-sharing app for example. Vancouver, Canada does this, though I can't recall if I still had to pay cash/credit card at the end.

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Uber will fail in Japan.

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I asked a genuine question and get a thumbs down but no reply. Lol... Typical liberalism.

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I hope they succeed.

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Uber might not be a great success in Japan due to high availability of taxis here buts it was lifesaver when I travel to places like Bangkok , Jakarta, KL, HK and even Singapore. Its all Grab Taxi now but the service levels are still good.

And yes as Crazy Town pointed out they dont have the night 20% surcharge, a good option to catch late night flight from Haneda.

Uber probably won't amount to much in Japan, and with the rising competition from the local players find it tough in other countries, but they did introduce a new concept and changed the market.

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Having just got back from 5 days in Dubai, it was great to have access to an app like this as a tourist.. There wasn't any need to know my exact physical location to book a taxi when not in areas they are parked waiting for fares. I didn't need to ensure the taxi took card, or if I had enough local currency. I knew what the fare would be as booking the ride.. Luckily English is a common lanuguage there too, but Uber could also assist by you already having the destination set too, so one less worry.

For a tourist an app like Uber (and there are other similar apps, Dubai had their own one too) is a massive plus, it removes so many worry factors. Given the number of tourists and 2020 around the corner, adding apps and solutions that make it EASIER for tourists is a huge win.

If the taxi federation and the government are that worried about Uber stealing business, then maybe they should develop their own app which gives similar functions as those that would benefit tourists trying to get around..

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Uber's concept will be done better by other companies I don't think Uber itself will do well. I doubt the concept will do much to upend taxis in Japan

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Uber's concept will be done better by other companies I don't think Uber itself will do well.

Why not? They were first, and have the most experience and widest coverage. Their app and service are really good now. I'd say they have a better chance at remaining the leader for the longest than other companies do, so I'm wondering what you think it is about Uber that will cause it to do well.

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Yes, convenient and cheaper.  but also kind of why it is a scam.

Company has never made money.  and in countires where the taxis are good they always end up quiting.  And in others the desire to protect passengers has led to local regulatory interference with thewir "business model"

Only folks who make decent money out of Uber are the sponsors and senior management.  Drivers make little and drivers save a little.  And investors subsidise the whole shebang......

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In the old days, i just hitchiked.

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Why not? They were first, and have the most experience and widest coverage. Their app and service are really good now. I'd say they have a better chance at remaining the leader for the longest than other companies do, so I'm wondering what you think it is about Uber that will cause it to do well.

You left out the "in Japan" part of sf2k's post. Uber are a leader of nothing in Japan. If the other companies get serious, and it seems like they are, they will be able to hold off Uber easily.

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Uber, while a smart idea is a long way from being perfect and suffers from the simple problem that it doesn not like to be regulated and treats its drivers with utter contempt, paying them the bare minimum. I think the reason it doesn't work in Japan is a cultural one. Conservative attitudes towards traditional services such as transport have not changed and to be honest id rather pay a bit more for that quality experience, with a knowledgeable driver than save a few Yen and take the risk of a dubious ride scheme.

Taxis in Japan like the yellow cab in New York and the Black Cabs in London are iconic. Its not just the quality of the vehicles that maes them like this is the knowledge of their driver. Show me an Uber driver that can tell me about the historic districts like Yanaka in Tokyo, or the best place to get Ramen at 3am in the morning and I will be mightly impressed. You cant buy that life experience or levels of local knowledge! I'll be hailing in the traditional manner I'm afraid.

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I don't think it will work in Japan. Young Japanese don't use cabs much. Old Japanese using app to hail a taxi, no way. Tourist with net connection in their smart phones are very few. Even if they have net facility, Uber can expect very few number of riders who already has Uber app in their devices from their country of origin.

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You left out the "in Japan" part of sf2k's post.

I don't think I did. That reads as a separate thought.

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