Skyhigh Taxi Fares

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be a warm day here with a high of around 15C, but nothing like Saitama where they are expecting to get up to 25C! (No, that's not a typo.) And luckily the rain seems to have stopped, so while it won't be sunny, at least it won't rain. Tomorrow and Tuesday are looking pretty cold-highs both days will be around 8C and then it'll warm up again the middle of the week.

Compared to major cities in other nations, initial fares in Japan are remarkably high. For example, getting into a cab in Tokyo will set you back at least 730 yen, with the charge rising after the first 2 kilometers. In Osaka, the base charge is 680 yen, and in Fukuoka it's 670 yen, with the fare in the latter city rising after the first 1.6 kilometers of road. That compares with a get-in charge worth about 280 yen in New York and 388 yen in London, though the meter starts to tick after traveling about 300 metres in both cities.

The difference has the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism considering cutting down the base fare in Japan, and it is looking at a test-run in fiscal 2016 to address taxi industry concerns that a reduced initial tariff will lead to significantly lower revenues.

According to a survey by the Tokyo Hire-Taxi Association industry group, the average distance of a Tokyo cab ride is 1.41 kilometers, and 27 percent of all customers get from Point A to Point B within the initial charge. Foreign tourists often take short rides, but so too do elderly residents going out shopping or to the hospital, and overall demand for short trips is rising.

There's a lot of potential demand (for a cheaper base fare), and there is also a chance to get out of the negative cycle of rising fares leading to fewer riders," a senior transport ministry official commented. If the lower fares catch on and lead to more riders, the taxi industry could also see higher sales overall.

I always thought that taxis in Japan were expensive, but I never realized how big of a difference it was.

I, for one, would be for the government stepping in and setting a base fare that would be reasonable for short trip passengers. And this isn't from my own selfish point of view-I never use taxis anyway. But I'd love to hear from people that actually use taxis. What do you think? Are the base fares in Japan too high?

Have a great day!

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