A smartphone application that will connect users to a taxi service has been launched in Tokyo. Introduced by the Tokyo Hire-Taxi Association, the application, which is strictly accessible on iPhones, Android and Windows OS, will enable users to link themselves to around 6,500 taxicabs free of charge and pick them up wherever they may be in the city.
While Japan, specifically Tokyo, is known to have a lot of taxis, hailing one is still not easy. Some Japanese taxi firms have already began creating their own mobile app but it has never been maximized yet. The new app is the first to include numerous taxi companies to its system. Also, unlike Uber where the fare is automatically deducted from the passenger’s credit card, this system still goes for the conventional way of paying the driver directly. Uber app is also not widely known within the city yet, perhaps also due to its limited area of service. Uber Co-founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick, on a visit to the country, found a “very byzantine and complicated regulations” for taxi operations. That obviously didn’t make it easy for his company to penetrate the Japanese market and advertise the app immediately.
Starring the mascot “Takkun,” a blue car with blinking eyes, arms and yellow wheels, the Tokyo taxi association app is expected to include 9,200 taxis in its system by April. Expanding the service area is also being negotiated currently including the addition of the service in the English language in preparation of the 2020 Olympics.