Asia-Pacific, Transportation, Universal Design, March 25 2019

Promoting wheelchair-friendly taxis

The Japanese government is hoping that visitors to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics who use wheelchairs will have an easy time getting around. Officials say they’re going to obligate taxi operators to train their drivers in the use of specially designed vehicles.”Universal design” taxis look like station wagons and can easily accommodate passengers in wheelchairs.

Cab operators that have the cars will be eligible for subsidies if they provide special training to their drivers.But officials are concerned about the prospect of companies buying the cars, and then choosing not to conduct the training, simply so they can pocket the subsidy.

The officials have decided to withhold the money in such cases. A lack of training is often cited for situations where cab drivers refuse to accept wheelchair users. Government officials also are planning to create an award for drivers with good customer-service skills. They will call on hospitals and train-station operators to set up loading zones specifically for universal-design taxis.

Originally Posted on NHK World-Japan