MemberSeptember 3, 2018 at 1:46 pm
In anticipation of more wheelchair users visiting Japan for the Olympics/Paralympics in 2020, there is a new taxi vehicle called JPN Taxi introduced last year that not only is for regular taxi users, but can also accommodate wheelchair users if the rear seat is folded up and a manual ramp is deployed. You can see many of these types of taxis with high roofs and low floors driving around Japan’s cities these days. Conceptually, it is a good example of barrier free design in the sense that wheelchair users don’t need to hire a special taxi with a wheelchair lift, but I have heard that some bigger-sized electric wheelchairs can not fit, so it is not a perfect solution. As well, currently wheelchair uses only account for one in several thousand taxi passengers in Japan, so the taxi drivers are not very well practiced in deploying the ramp and securing the passenger so it takes up to 10 minutes or more. Just so you know, wheelchair passengers get charged the same taxi fare as regular passengers (the time it takes for the passenger to board/de-board is not charged to the passenger), but unfortunately, some wheelchair users I know have opted for transferring to the regular taxi seat and putting their folding wheelchair in the trunk because putting the ramp out was too cumbersome. Simply said, the ramp and securing the wheelchair were not designed with efficiency in mind.
Full disclosure, I work in the transportation industry in Japan. One of my colleagues at work is in charge of reducing the time it takes for wheelchair users to board the JPN Taxi by making the ramp easier for the driver to deploy and simpler to secure the passenger. We got into a discussion about what length of time the customer would be satisfied with. If anyone has any input, please let me know or select from the following choices.
Question. How much time do you think is practical from the wheelchair user’s point of view to board a taxi with a manually deployed ramp?
a)The amount of time doesn’t matter.
b)Greater than 5 minutes, but less than 10, minutes is ok
c)Less than 5 minutes is desired
d)Less than 3 minutes is desired
ModeratorSeptember 3, 2018 at 10:57 pm
I rode in one for a TV show and, being in a power wheelchair, I had to remove my headrest to get in. I haven’t used one since (I’m a train guy) but have heard stories of 10-20 minutes for inexperienced drivers to figure out the ramp before even getting the rider in to belt-down and drivers refusing power wheelchair users. Also, turning around inside is difficult.
As for timing, I would be OK with between 5-10 min but would ideally want under 5 min. The big wheelchair taxis take about 10 minutes to deploy the lift and attach belts etc, so around that amount of time is reasonable. I don’t expect to jump in a taxi and say “quick! follow that car!” like in the movies! 🙂
PS – I think the Tanto Sloper is a quicker way to load.
MemberSeptember 4, 2018 at 4:24 am
Well, as I can walk a little bit what I usually do when I want to take a taxi is to get down the chair, remove its wheels, fold the backrest and some other minor operations to make it as small as possible. Then, I try to stop a taxi. Otherwise, most taxis don’t stop. So, for me, a reasonable amount of time would be the time that it usually takes me to disassemble the wheelchair, enter the taxi and then exit the taxi and put the wheelchair back together. As I’m not really fast, I’d say that under 5 minutes would be a reasonable amount of time. If it were more than 5 minutes, then I’d try to take a regular taxi, though it’s always quite a pain.
I really wish that you manage to reduce the time as it will be better both for wheelchair users and taxi drivers. Keep up the good work!
MemberSeptember 4, 2018 at 7:39 am
I’m not really a fan of wheelchair taxis; given the choice I prefer to transfer in to a regular car as it only takes me seconds.
MemberSeptember 4, 2018 at 2:01 pm
Thanks for the feedback!
Josh, the movie scene made me laugh. If a train can get you to where you want to go then the train is cheaper than a taxi too! With a little bit of improvement to the ramp and the way it is stored in the vehicle, 5 to 10 minutes boarding time seems to be in reach.
Joan, I appreciate your input. If rolling into a taxi isn’t easier than disassembling your chair then customers won’t choose the former option. My experience with manual wheelchair users is about the same, 5 minutes.
Weekender, good insight. I guess that you are not the target market, but thanks for the comment!
ModeratorSeptember 4, 2018 at 4:11 pm
The only time I could see myself using one of the taxis would be if I missed my last train. So, even if they are not ideal or not something I would use regularly, I really am thankful I (a power wheelchair user) have the same opportunities to stay out past the last train as others do.
If they do iterate, I would like about 5-7cm extra to get in comfortably.
MemberSeptember 4, 2018 at 5:58 pm
Yeah, I can relate to not being a regular taxi rider (Japan’s other public transport is pretty reliable), but there is the odd time once or twice a year that I do ride in them for business or pleasure. In those instances their convenience is greatly appreciated!! Mobility is a multifaceted topic with no one-fits-all solution, but this type of taxi breaks down the barriers that some wheelchair users faced before, so if that opens up more possibilities for more people, I think things are moving in the right direction. Thanks for the input!
MemberSeptember 10, 2018 at 1:47 pm
My name is Josh and I am from the taxi company in Japan.
JPN Taxi is made for Tokyo Olympic, but it is not super suitable for wheel chair riders(as it takes long time to get on the cab..) .
My company has JPN Taxis , but we dont really recommend for wheel chair riders. (I would say, JPN taxis are for the ones who have long legs, or tall people..)
We do recommend a taxi which is called “Nissan NV200” since this model is dedicated to wheel chair riders..
(Nissan NV 200 Universal design… sorry it is Japanese, but I guess you can still refer by images..)
Josh from Daiichi Taxi
ModeratorSeptember 10, 2018 at 1:59 pm
That looks much easier to get in!
MemberSeptember 19, 2018 at 9:11 am
Hello, I live in Montreal, Canada and using wheelchair taxi when I can’t find a driver for my minivan (Dodge Grand Caravan). Here the procedure takes 5 min max. What I dont understand from what I see in the videos is the need to use a winch to pull the wheelchair in the vehicule… either its a powered wheelchair (like mine) or if it’s a manual the driver just has to push it onto the ramp… are the drivers in Japan not allowed to do that? The photos are from my minivan but taxis in most af canadian city are the same as my van.
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