Ride Sharing Services to Start in Tokyo from April

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — An association of taxi operators in Tokyo said Wednesday that its member taxi firms will start ride-sharing services in the capital in April.

Ride-sharing services, in which people use their personal vehicles to offer paid rides, will start in taxi-scarce Tokyo ahead of other areas in the country.

The move comes as the government plans to partially lift its ride-sharing ban in April on condition that services are run by taxi companies for limited hours and areas.

Ride-sharing services by the Tokyo Hire-Taxi Association will be available via a taxi-hailing app in Tokyo’s 23 wards and the cities of Musashino and Mitaka on weekday mornings, Friday evenings, in the early hours of Saturdays and daytime at weekends.

The ride fees will be the same as those of taxis, while the drivers will be aged between 20 and 69, in their second or later years after obtaining their driver’s licenses, and with signed employment contracts with taxi operators.

Ichiro Kawanabe, chairman of the association, said that he hopes hundreds of ride-sharing drivers will be available in April.