November 27th 2019
Japan’s transport ministry is instructing taxi drivers not to refuse wheelchair users when they drive taxis specially designed to accommodate such passengers.
“Universal design” taxis are larger in size and have a spacious interior so they can easily carry passengers who use mobility devices.
The Japan National Assembly of Disabled Peoples’ International conducted a survey last month across the country on the use of such taxis.
It found that among the 120 cases surveyed, there were 32, or 27 percent, in which wheelchair users were refused taxi rides.
To tackle the matter, the transport ministry issued an instruction to an association of taxi operators.
It says that it is a violation of the law for cab drivers to refuse a passenger or reservation because the passenger is a wheelchair user, or the driver does not know how to operate the device to carry a wheelchair. The instruction says such cases are subject to administrative action or guidance.
A similar instruction was issued last year.
Officials are promoting the introduction of such taxis ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games by offering subsidies to taxi operators who purchase them.
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