Foreigner-Friendly Taxi StandAt Kyoto Station, First Trial in Japan1 March 2016 - Traffic
Japan's first taxi stand focused on being foreigner-friendly opened on March 1 at Ekimae Hiroba square in front of the Central Gate of JR Kyoto Station, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto. The stand will run on a trial basis for about one year until next March. Taxi drivers who have received training in foreign languages and reception will be waiting there. Attention will be focused on whether this can further improve the "hospitality" of Kyoto, the city of international tourism.
The taxi stand was set up by an executive committee consisting of the Kyoto City Government, Kinki District Transport Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the taxi association of Kyoto Prefecture, and others. According to a survey of foreign tourists visiting Kyoto conducted last year by the city government and others, only about 40 percent of them had used taxis in Japan. The aim is to prepare an environment that will enable foreigners to feel free to use taxis, and to grasp the potential demand and challenges for increased utilization.
The special taxi stand with a capacity for nine cabs is located east of the taxi stand for general passengers at Ekimae Hiroba square in front of the Central Gate, and is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sixty-nine taxis from 23 companies and associations, which have been certified as "foreigner-friendly taxis" by the executive committee, operate from this taxi stand. The 87 assigned drivers can speak English or Chinese, or handle mobile terminals with a translation app skillfully. Special foreigner-friendly service indicator lamps are installed on the cars.
In the departure ceremony, Daisaku Kadokawa, Kyoto City Mayor, said, "We would like to develop a full-fledged service from this trial operation." Soon foreigners with large baggage got into the taxis at the foreigner-friendly taxi stand and went off into the city center in Kyoto.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)