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Who will gain and who will lose from Tokyo's new taxi fares?

22 Comments

On Jan 20, the Kanto Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism put its final stamp of approval on taxi operators' proposals to reduce the "hatsu-nori" (flag down) initial taxi fare from the current 730 yen for the first 2 kilometers to 410 yen for the first 1.052 kilometers. The change, which will affect taxis operating in the 23 wards of Tokyo and the western suburbs of Musashino and Mitaka, will go into effect from January 30.

What Nikkan Gendai (Jan 25) wants to know is, who can expect to gain some advantage from the new fare structure, and who's likely to emerge a loser?

"In the 23 wards, the fare for a bus ride is 210 yen, or 206 if paying with a PASMO or other IC card," a salesman employed by a manufacturing company tells the reporter. "So a bus is cheaper than a taxi; but in the summer things get pretty hot, so when I make the rounds I don't mind paying extra to take a taxi."

Once the meter kicks in beyond the minimum fare, the charges will change as well, from 90 yen per every additional 280 meters to 80 yen per every additional 237 meters.

A simple calculation works out as follows: At the 1.526-kilometer mark, the meter will read 570 yen; and at 1.763 kilometers, the fare will increase to 650 yen. So if three people share a cab and ride for 1.7 kilometers, they will actually pay only 20 yen more -- and certainly arrive sooner at their destination -- than if the three take a bus.

What sort of distance are we talking about here? Roughly that between the Marunouchi exit at Tokyo central station and the Imperial Hotel.

When the world's financial markets were hit by a near panic in 2008 -- referred to in Japan as the Lehman Shock -- corporate revenues are said to have dropped by around 15%. A source in the taxi industry recalls that it was from around this time that more businessmen began sharing taxi rides to hold down out-of-pocket costs.

The new fares offering savings for short rides are likely to appeal to those who, for example, accompany an elderly family member to a hospital or day care center. It may also up a new era of competition with buses operated by the Tokyo metropolis, which in fiscal 2015 reported losses of 739 million yen.

On the other hand, the savings offered for very short taxi rides will be offset by an effective increase for rides of 4 kilometers or longer. A ride from Tokyo station to Shibuya, for example, is just over 6.5 kilometers.

"After the Lehman Shock, the number of customers leaving by around midnight to catch the last train home increased sharply," the operator of a bar in Ginza recalled to Nikkan Gendai. "We typically stay open until 2 a.m., but with fewer late-night customers, our revenues dropped by 20 to 30%, and nobody knows when or if the economy will make a comeback.

"While we're still getting customers who live closer the city center, if their taxi fares go up, it's probably going to impact negatively on our business, both in terms of income and personnel costs. So late-night operations in particular are likely to start feeling the pinch," he fretted.

© Japan Today

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22 Comments
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A simple calculation works out as follows: At the 1.526-kilometer mark, the meter will read 570 yen; and at 1.763 kilometers, the fare will increase to 650 yen. So if three people share a cab and ride for 1.7 kilometers, they will actually pay only 20 yen more—and certainly arrive sooner at their destination—than if the three take a bus.

Simple calculation my arse.....round the numbers up or down when calculating distances, this is more BS. I can just imagine the negotiations between the government officials and taxi companies in figuring out these distance numbers.

It's asinine.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

This is planned confusion, so they can charge what they want and the customer has no way to argue

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Come on.... the Taxi companies are screwed! Even if they lower, increase, or slice and dice their fares... people are fed up. Take the bus or walk... the Taxi companies, AKA, Yakuza legit companies, are in bed with the Government. I only take a Taxi when I'm really pressed for time.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Who benefits. That was a complicated set of explanations for what is quite simple. Flagfall reduced but price per meter is increased.

Under 2km, will be cheaper under the new system Exactly 2km will be the same (730 yen) as the old system Anything over 2km will be more under the new system.

So they are saying, "We give up on trying to get fat fares from people who missed the last train, we are going go concentrate on the lazy rich people in the city who cant walk 1km"

I just hope companies like Dolphin and Eco still continue to provide reduced fare taxis for those of who want to get home on a budget.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

why the hate for JP taxi companies? I have only had one bad experience in 18 years.

my worst taxi experience was in Philly with a Nigerian guy who was hitting 70-80 mph down town,,, and then the lady driver with no teeth on Long Island who had an old pizza box in the dirty back seat and other garbage in the trunk where I put my luggage, and had to hear her complain about her unemployed bf.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Uber to the rescue...oh, wait...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Yubaru, thanks for the dickhead comment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tokyo doesn't have local buses or trains that run overnight BTW.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wasn't a frequent taxi user, only used it in certain circumstances. Usually used the subway to go out and see clients, except for one that would have entailed 2 transfers plus a 10 minute walk, and taxi fare was usually around 1000 yen.

Other was, my house was 30 minute walk from a JR station, and last train would roll in around 1am. Subway closed closer to 12 so would get a taxi from JR to home after drinking. Generally this cost around 1500 yen or so.

Never thought fares were unreasonable.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The change will surely affect taxis, no?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What sort of distance are we talking about here? Roughly that between the Marunouchi exit at Tokyo central station and the Imperial Hotel.

Nope. Lived in the city for years and that means nothing to me. About twenty minutes walk might have been a more useful reference.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Taxi fares are very reasonable in Japan compared to in Canada.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is planned confusion, so they can charge what they want and the customer has no way to argue

Nonsense, a customer can object by taking another transport option. If a shoe shop has put up it's prices down you moan about the unfairness of it?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Uber!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

the meter also increases if the ride take more time. what about those rates? also, the late nite rates?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

fds, currently the meter goes up 90 yen every 1 min 45s of stationary or traveling under 10km/h. Just checked and the new rate will be 80 yen every 1 min 30s, which is about a 3% increase.

Late night rates are the same 20% increase between 10pm and 5am. This is apparently done by reducing the distances, so 877m initial + 80 yen for every additional 198m. Taxis will display 割増 on the status meter on their dash (visible from outside) to let you know this will happen.

Some taxi companies do not charge the late night rates, and will have signs on them saying 割増無し. I always spend some time looking for one of these guys, because it can make a decent difference.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Uber? In New York City, Uber is already making the traditional taxi business model obsolete. But of course this is Japan, and Uber, or something similar, won't make any significant progress for many, many years (if at all).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

who cares. The difference here is small potatoes. If it matters to you guys just take public transport. Not convinced either about Uber being so high and almighty. Sure they have disrupted taxi industries in several countries but generally by being very sketchy legal wise as well as being bad for the general salary man. Imagine for those of you who have a job paying a regular salary w/ benefits how employers like Uber are really a threat to traditional employment.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've used Uber, and it's very user friendly. That said, it's a race to the bottom, and in the long run will only server Uber, not the users nor the drivers. I would rather see Taxi companies move towards an uber type app for their usage. I think that would benefit everyone.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just call an ambulance for all your taxi needs, it's free and gaining popularity.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Have to agree with Stranger about Über. Yes, it's cheap and super efficient, but I'd rather pay the difference for a driver less worried about paying their bills.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nothing had changed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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