Tokyo's taxis changed how they charge their fares yesterday. The old fare of 730 yen for the first 2 km, followed by ¥90 per 280 meters has been replaced by a new (and more difficult to calculate) fare of ¥410 for the first 1.052 km followed by ¥80 for every 237 meters. This makes short rides of up to 6.5 km about the same price, and rides of 6.5 km or more, more expensive than before. Traveling 2 km in a Tokyo taxi costs exactly the same under the new fare regime as under the old - 730 yen.
We did a few calculations to compare this new Tokyo taxi fares with those of other big cities.
The following foreign city calculations are based on daytime fares without giving a tip (no tipping is required in Tokyo) and converted to JPY at today's rate for the purposes of easy comparison.
A 5 km taxi ride in Tokyo now costs 1,688 yen (about USD 14.65) as opposed to 1,694 yen under the old system - less than a 10 yen difference.
A 5 km taxi ride in New York costs about 1,181 yen
A 5 km taxi ride in Singapore costs about 485 yen
A 5 km taxi ride in Hong Kong costs about 690 yen
A 5 km taxi ride in Shanghai costs about 30 yen
A 5 km taxi ride in Sydney costs about 1,262 yen
The main rationale behind the Tokyo taxi nominal fare reduction is apparently to encourage more of the millions of tourists who now visit Japan's capital annually to take the taxi option for short distances. However, this fare calculation recalibration hardly seems worth it considering the difference with taxi fares in South-East Asia, in particular, which will still tend to put off travelers from those regions, and the fact that even compared with Sydney and New York, Tokyo is still substantially more expensive - although this depends on how much the passenger is willing to tip, especially in cities like New York where tipping is de rigeur.
The change in Tokyo taxi fares is not going to make anyone feel as if taking a taxi in Tokyo has become more affordable, and makes long-distance taxi rides more expensive than ever.
Read more about taxis in Japan
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