Taxis with lower starting fares given test run on Tokyo streets
Taxis with cheaper starting rates are getting a trial spin on some Tokyo streets.
The rate is 410 yen ($4) per 1.059 kilometers, compared with the current rate in Tokyo of 730 yen for the first 2 kilometers.
The cabs can be boarded at the east exit of Shinbashi Station, in front of Asakusa Station, the east exit of Shinjuku Station and in front of the University of Tokyo Hospital. The taxis cannot be hailed out on the streets.
Under the sweltering sun, a wide range of passengers including families and suit-clad businessmen lined up at a specially installed cab depot at the east exit of Shinbashi Station on Aug. 5, the first day of the experiment.
“I usually walk but I can take a cab at this price,” said a 39-year-old office worker from Inzai, Chiba Prefecture, who used the taxi to get whisked to a hospital nearby.
Forty cabs are taking part in the experiment, which runs through Sept. 15.
Taxi firms were encouraged by the transport ministry to adopt the lower fares to allow the elderly and foreign tourists to use cabs more often over short distances.
As passenger numbers continue to decline in the industry, Nihon Kotsu Co. and 22 other taxi operators, who run more than 70 percent of the total number of taxis operating in Tokyo's 23 wards along with the suburban cities of Musashino and Mitaka, gave the plan the thumbs up. Topping the 70 percent mark was the condition the ministry set for starting discussions on the issue.
Tokyo Hire-Taxi Association Chariman Ichiro Kawanabe said that they are "hoping to encourage more people to take quick rides” with an initial fare that could be "cheaper than the cost of lunch."
The ministry plans to approve the fare change as early as later this year after assessing the results of the trial run.
Oxford dictionaries.com.でswelteringは“Uncomfortably hot”と定義されており、swelterの語源は「死ぬ、消滅する」をあらわすperishのドイツ語“swelt”からきているそうです。hotよりもとても暑い様子が伝わってきます。
よって文中の“Under the sweltering sun”は「猛暑の中、炎天下」をあらわすと思いました。