Slow Taxi Service Deliberately Takes Its Time
Turtle Taxi is perfect for passengers who aren't in a rush.
Honest taxi drivers of the world generally aim for a journey to be as short as possible, but there is a new service in Japan called Turtle Taxi that acknowledges not everyone is in a rush. Customers can press a button in the back of the cab that signals the driver to slow down, making for a ride that is safer, more relaxing, and less harmful to the environment. Ironically, the idea is quickly gaining popularity, which could see the company expand to other cities around Japan soon.
Once pressed, the “Yukkuri” button in the back of each taxi lets the driver know that he doesn’t have to keep the engine running at red lights, can accelerate more gradually, and doesn’t have to drive in the fast lane. The result is a smoother ride, which is easier on passengers, and the environment. “The starts and stops are very smooth because there is no jarring movement,” one mother told the Japan Daily Press. “It is perfect for those times when I don’t want to have my sleeping child woken up.”
The Yokohama-based company first offered the service in December 2013, designating 10 of the company’s 500 cabs as “turtle taxis.” People who have been interested in the service so far include pregnant women, the elderly, and those with sleeping children, but it’s an idea that could be just as useful for tourists who want to take in more of the city while traveling from one place to another.
According to Sanwa Kotsu Group, the company that runs the Turtle Taxi, the introduction of the concept has led to a 15% increase in the number of people requesting a slow ride. The company not only plans to offer the service in all of its taxis by the end of next year, but it also wants to offer the slow service in other city centers nearby, such as Tokyo, Kanagawa and Saitama.
Images by Turtle Taxi