The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Friday started conducting a field test by lowering the starting fare of some taxis in Tokyo to 410 yen from the current 730 yen in an effort to provide an easier and more comfortable way for people to use taxis.
The test will be conducted until Sept 15. Forty taxis from 23 taxi companies are taking part in the test starting at Shimbashi, Asakusa and Shinjuku stations, as well as the University of Tokyo Hospital, Fuji TV reported.
The new starting fare covers the first 1.059 kilometers. After that, the fare will go up by 80 yen for every increment of 237 meters.
By lowering the starting fare of cabs by nearly 40%, the ministry wants to find out whether more people would be willing to use taxis if the option of a short distance fare was available. These taxis are expected to be popular in front of train stations, office districts, hospitals and big shopping malls.
The ministry said that if results are positive, a new fare structure will be applied to all taxis in December.